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Pusser's Naval Rum

Pusser's Naval Rum


By Robert Plotkin

Everything about Pusser's Naval Rum smacks of authenticity, which is why it's known as "The Original Rum of the Royal Navy." From stem to stern, Pusser's is a singular spirit with qualities unlike those found in other rums. In fact, the storied rum is crafted in a manner that no other rum can duplicate. Strictly speaking, Pusser's offers a unique slice of life, a magnificent rum brimming with character and vitality.

In 1655 the Admiralty began substituting rum for beer as the daily "spirited" ration for its sailors in the West Indies, and by 1731, a pint of rum was being doled out to crews throughout the Royal Navy. The daily rationing of rum was one of its longest standing traditions. The practice remained in effect until July 31, 1970, a date that has become known as "Black Tot Day." The Admiralty Board then canceled longstanding purchasing agreements with the West Indies rum distillers. Most of these relationships had been in place since 1810, the year that the official blend of the dark rums was adopted.

In 1979, an American former Marine named Charles Tobias approached the Royal Navy with a plan to begin marketing Pusser's Rum. At first the notion was met with profound skepticism by the Admiralty. But Tobias persisted and offered to donate a sizable portion of the proceeds to the Royal Navy Sailor's Fund. The Admiralty Board eventually consented, giving Tobias access to the official Pusser's Rum recipe and granting him permission to incorporate the Royal Ensign on the label.

Pusser's is history in a bottle, an authentic recreation of the rum served to sailors in the British Royal Navy for centuries. Pusser's continues to be produced in the West Indies—specifically Trinidad and Guyana—in exact accordance to the Admiralty's recipe and standards. All of the molasses used to make the rums comes from the Demerara River Valley. They are distilled in the last remaining production-capacity wooden pot stills in the world. The distillation of rum in wood imparts a truly unique flavor that can only be described as "full and rich." The wooden staves of the stills are impregnated with centuries of esters and congeners—the organic compounds found naturally in wine and spirits that impart flavor to them. No other stills in the world can reproduce these flavors.

After distillation, the rums used to make Pusser's are barrel-aged for a minimum of 3 years before being shipped to Barbados for blending and bottling at 42% alcohol by volume.

The vivacious spirit has a lustrous honey/amber hue, a lush, medium-weight body and a lively set of semisweet sugarcane, molasses and toasted oak aromas with dry vegetal notes. aromas. Don't brace yourself for a slap-in-the-face experience. The entry is warm, yet gentle, then the exceptionally dry, woody flavors take over and builds in intensity, stopping well short of hot. The protracted finish presents layers of fresh earthy flavors.

Pusser's Naval Rum is an invaluable addition behind the bar. It is famous as the foundation of the Painkiller, a timeless tall drink made with Pusser's, orange and pineapple juice, coconut syrup and freshly grated nutmeg on top. It'll cure whatever ails you.