Raise a toast to centuries of naval tradition on Black Tot Day this 31st July.
On 31st July 1970 a 300 year-old Naval tradition ended when, at six bells in the forenoon watch (11am), the last official ration of rum was given to the sailors of Her Majesty's fleet. The day has henceforth been known as 'Black Tot Day' and has been celebrated each year on 31st July ever since.


The original Navy rum ration began unofficially in
1655 when the daily liquor ration for serving sailors
was switched from brandy to rum. The change was
officially recognised in Naval regulations in 1731, and
in 1750 Vice-Admiral Edward Vernon of the West
Indies fleet issued a General Order establishing the
daily rum ration.
It was Vernon who insisted that the rum should be
watered down and served with lime, the resultant
brew being called 'grog' after Vernon's nickname,
Old Grog, which derived from the heavy
grogram-cloth overcoat he wore.

However, by the 1950s, concerns were being raised
about the rum ration's suitability for the complex
equipment on modern warships. The writing was on
the wall for the daily tot and in 1970 on 31st July the
curtain fell on this centuries-old tradition and Black
Tot Day was born.

Naturally, the sailors were upset at losing their tot of
free rum. Many marked the occasion with farewell
events including mock funerals and even the
ceremonial pouring of their last tot into the sea.
But the story doesn't end there.


After Black Tot Day, Naval stores found themselves
with hundreds of gallons of rum that no longer had a
purpose. The remaining stock of rum was decanted
from the large soleras in which it had been kept and
was moved into storage in stoneware flagons.
Thereafter, this original Navy Rum was almost
forgotten about, only being served occasionally at
state events and royal weddings.
In 2010, Speciality Drinks became aware that the
remaining flagons of genuine Naval Rum were available for
purchase. The company seized the opportunity to acquire
the stocks and decanted the wicker-clad flagons to marry
into a magnificent blend. Black Tot Rum was born -
the last remaining stock of the original Navy Rum.

Launched at a ceremony on HMS Belfast on
July 31st 2010, exactly forty years after the original
Black Tot Day, Black Tot Rum has become a must-try for
rum fans and naval history enthusiasts.

Preserved for four decades in its stoneware flagons,
this remarkable rum is a true artefact of liquid
maritime history.