31 July

Black Tot Day


So we are drinking a...


On this day in 1970, the British Navy retired one of its longest-standing traditions – the midday rum ration, known as a tot.

By the time of its abolition, the tot had been reduced to a mere 70 millilitres (2½ fluid ounces) of rum, but even that came to be considered too much for men who might spend the afternoon managing weapons and complicated machinery.

In the earliest days of the rum ration, when Royal Navy ruled, the men were issued with a staggering half pint, (285 millilitres / 10oz) of rum at the specified Navy Strength of 54.5% alc./vol..

We will be marking Black Tot Day with our take on the classic Navy drink: Grog. The lime in the original Grog was most likely dished out to prevent scurvy - contributing to British sailors' nickname, Limeys.

Read the fascinating story of Navy rum, the spirit that fuelled the British Navy.

Also on this day the Little Prince author disappeared

Remember The Little Prince? Antoine de Saint-Exupéry wrote the book after he crashed in the desert while attempting to break an air speed record. A pioneer aviator, in the days when planes were made of wood and fabric, Antoine de Saint-Exupéry worked as a journalist, a novelist, a pilot - and fought for a free France during the Second World War.

Despite being 43, technically far too old to fly in combat, and so badly injured in previous crashes that he could not even zip up his own flight suit, Antoine de Saint-Exupéry lobbied for the right to fight for his country. He was reinstated to his old squadron with the provision that he was to fly only five missions. On this day in 1944, he disappeared while flying his ninth reconnaissance mission from an airbase on Corsica in an unarmed P-38. The remains of his plane were not discovered until more than 50 years later after a fisherman found his silver identity bracelet off the coast of Marseille.

We are toasting Antoine de Saint-Exupéry - that rare combination of intellectual and hero - with an Elder Aviator. One of our own creations, it's a twist on the classic Aviation, but with elderflower instead of violet.

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