The UK’s original navy rum, Pusser’s, has partnered with the Roundhouse this summer to launch the long-awaited return of Camden Beach, a 900 sq metre terrace filled with 150 tonnes of the finest sand, end-of-the-pier amusements, pop-up food stalls, beach huts, ping-pong, live music and a showcase of summer drinks brands. The partnership between the historic venue and rum makers Pusser’s, sees the brand sponsoring one of the iconic beach huts, creating a ‘Rum Shack’ with full branding and bar presence.
Proceedings kick off on 24th July with a VIP launch party, followed by a nod to the brand’s naval roots with celebrations to mark Black Tot Day on 31st July. Pusser’s will be holding masterclasses with Rum Ambassador Ian Burrell, rum tastings throughout, and serving Grog cocktails inspired by the old navy tale of Admiral Vernon, who was known as The Grog.
During the summer, the famous Pusser’s cocktail, The Painkiller, will also be served which will feature Coco Re’al – also distributed by Cellar Trends.
This is the second year that Pusser’s has been involved with Camden Beach and Peter Thornton, Brand Manager at Pusser’s, comments: “It is a very cool event, bringing something different and unique to London. On 31 July we will be inviting some navy guys along for Black Tot Day celebrations to share their sea-faring tales with the Camden crowd to help spread the word about this important day and the Navy Tot Fund. Throughout the summer, there’s a great atmosphere and backdrop and it provides an excellent opportunity for us to reach new consumers with both Pusser’s Rum and Coco Re’al.”
Join the Pusser’s team and sample the legendary rum on the 31st July 2014 at The Roundhouse, Chalk Farm Road, London, NW1 8EH.
Over the past month, I’ve been working with Wood’s 100 Old Navy Rum, judging their national cocktail competition in association with the United Kingdom Bartenders Guild. It sees bartenders attempt to create a recipe that would promote the use of this export strength rum; a challenge that Is easier said than done. At the time of writing this, the north and London have completed their heats, and the south is coming up in a few weeks to decide who will join the winners so far in the final to be held in October. But it comes to me that I am yet to feature one of what I like to call ‘original’ rums.
Wood’s 100 hails from Guyana and the Diamond Distillery, home of names such as El Dorado and Skipper. Founded in the 17th Century, it is created using sugarcane that’s grown on the banks of the Demerara River. Once harvested, it is fermented and distilled within traditional pot stills. One finished, it is matured for 1.5 to 3 years in oak before being blended and bottled.
Over the years it has been seen as a ‘must-have’ on all bars, mainly due to its Navy Rum tag. Mixing with the likes of Lamb’s Navy and Pusser’s, it promoted itself as the ‘Spirit of the Caribbean’, a phrase that adorns each label, a label that has in fact stayed unchanged in the last 50 years or so.
But how does it fare? Well below, I give to you my tasting notes –
Wood’s 100 Old Navy – 57%
Raisin, vanilla and plenty of wood aromas fill the nose. Burn molasses and toffee aromas are a plenty too. A good kick of high-proof toffee hits your palate, but mellows quicker than expected to deliver a smooth texture of dark cocoa, roasted coffee and treacle. A long finish develops with a slight bite of dry spice and sugar.
One of the best dark rums at this strength, with plenty of deep, heavy flavours to enjoy. A whole host of cocktails have been tried and tested by me lately, but I’m going to showcase one that’s not been created within the competition –
12.5 ml Disaronno
25 ml Wood’s 100
12.5 ml De Kuyper Blue Curacao
75 ml Apple juice
25 ml Lemon juice
Shake all the ingredients with ice and strain to a highball filled with ice. Garnish with a physalis.
A surprise to most I think, and more than likely a winner if you love your rums. People forget the classic Navy style sometimes, but grab a bottle, re-invite yourself for a tot and re-live what the Navy used to drink a half pint of a day.
18 rums together. A hard task for many a rum lover, but spare a thought for Alfred Lamb, wine connoisseur and entrepreneur, who blended 18 back in 1849 to create the staple that we know call Lamb’s. It might sound like a simple story, but some of the best and well-known names are simple, and don’t need such historic backgrounds to be seen as an enjoyable brand.
Anyway, it’s the liquid that does the talking, surely?
Rums from Barbados, Jamaica, Trinidad and Guyana are chosen to create the Navy Rum we come to know today. Around 1871, Alfred Lamb was storing his rum within the West India Dock warehouse along the River Thames. Once stored, Alfred instructed four years to pass before the matured rum could be enjoyed. The Navy aspect of the brand comes from the British Navy, and indeed the rations of rum (an eye-watering 80% abv) being half a pint a day and introduced back in 1731. This practice came to an end July 31st 1970, mainly due to the advance in Naval equipment (no one wants a nuclear war to start due to the drunken sailors on board her Majesties vessel). Not do deter Lamb’s, they started a promotion campaign with the slogan ‘Join the Lamb’s Navy’.
So, how does Lamb’s fare? Well below, I give to you my tasting notes –
Lamb’s Navy – 40%
Plenty of vanilla and dark caramel on the nose, with hints of burnt toffee coming through. Sweet caramel on the palate creates a short and sometimes dry finish.
Lamb’s Navy Spiced– 30%
Very light on the nose with aromas of sweet vanilla. Slight flavours of lime on the palate, with very sweet vanilla dominating the slightly dry finish.
The Lamb’s Navy is a great shout, and versatile enough to be enjoyed within cocktails too –
37.5 ml Lamb’s Navy Rum
12.5 ml Creme de Mure
20 ml vanilla liqueur
50 ml pineapple juice
25 ml fresh lime juice
12.5 ml grenadine syrup
Shake and strain over ice. Garnish with a pineapple slice and cherry.
The Lamb’s range is a great go to brand, and can be found in most venues around the UK, and indeed the world. Whilst the spiced isn’t one of my favourites, the original Navy is up their with some of the best. For a traditional recipe, seek no further.
Everyone loves something classic. Classic films, classic cars, classic music. But what about classic drink? Yes there’s the classic cocktails like Martini or Manhattan, but what about those brands that make those cocktails become a mainstay? Or maybe those brands that have earned the right to be called classic? Say, for example, Pusser’s?
Pusser’s comes under this category for two reasons. Number one is for its quality, and number two for its history.
Between the mid 17th and 19th centuries, the sailors of the Royal Navy were granted a daily ration of rum by the ship’s Purser. The term Purser gradually changed its name until it became the more recognisable Pusser. Before 1740, the daily ration included an entire pint of rum which was consumed neat and before a battle, a double rum ration was issued. Only on July 31st 1970 did this tradition end after the Admiralty Board deemed it unsuitable.
The brand that we see behind the bars today was founded by Charles Tobias, a sailor and businessman. Tobias resurrected Pusser’s rum in 1979, using the original blending recipe which he had been given by the Admiralty. Today, the blend is the same as it was on British warships, using five West Indian rums (three from Guyana, two from Trinidad) aged for at least 3 years and contains mostly pot-still rum, all within Tortola in the British Virgin Islands. To add extra intrigue, the pot-still is made of wood, the definition of real navy rum.
Overseeing the development of Pusser’s around the world is a gentleman named George Freegard. Responsible for overseeing production and procurement and International sales outside of the US since 2012, I had the chance to enjoy the range of Pusser’s available here in the UK a couple of weeks back. A genuine rum lover, George gave great insight into the work that Charles Tobias has done, as well as his own achievements since working his first stint on the brand back in 1994 in the British Virgin Islands.
So how does this all natural rum fair? Well below, I give to you my tasting notes on their range, served up by George himself –
Pusser’s Gunpowder Proof– 54.5%
Originally named Pusser’s Old Blue. Rich vanilla nose with a slight toffee that lightens off with a hint of sweetness. A heavy burn on the palate to begin with but a mellow warmth develops with a sweet vanilla flavour.
Pusser’s New Blue – 40%
Released in 2014. Soft vanilla nose with hints of toffee and an underlying sweetness. A slight burn on the palate, but warms up after a few seconds, offering a sweet vanilla flavour that lingers.
Pusser’s Spice – 35%
Dry spice with a light kick of cinnamon on the nose. Very smooth on the palate, with dry spice, plenty of wood and a lingering ginger flavour to finish.
Pusser’s Navy Rum 15yr – 40%
Rich toffee nose with plenty of buttery aromas coming through. A rich, developing palate with a kick of sugar. Plenty of toffee notes create a lingering yet dry finish.
It’s always great to find a classic recipe too –
The Pusser’s Painkiller
Goblet / Mug
50 ml Pusser’s Rum – or 75ml / 100ml depending on the severity of the pain!
100 ml pineapple juice
25 ml orange juice
25 ml cream of coconut
Fill a mug or goblet with ice and add the ingredients. To mix, pour once or twice back and forth into another glass. Grate fresh nutmeg on top and enjoy this most delightful of tropical drinks.