Today we’re talking about the plain old blue label Pusser’s Rum, which is a pretty widely available mid-level rum bottled at 42% ABV in the United States. This bottle forms the base of the Pusser’s lineup, which also includes an overproof and a few more highly-aged bottles.
Pusser’s rum is based on a recipe used by the British Royal Navy back when they still gave out rum rations to sailors on ships. This practice took place from 1655 until July 31st, 1970, commemorated as “Black Tot Day.” The Cocktail Wonk has a pretty good article that gets a bit more specific about some of this history so I won’t recreate it all here. Pusser’s the company was founded 9 years after Black Tot Day to continue making rum to the original recipe.
The Pusser’s Rum we have today is a product of Guyana, which means it comes from Demerara Distillers Limited, since they’re the only rum distiller left standing in Guyana. I’m assuming this means the blend is made up 100% from Guyana-distilled rums, although the historic British Navy rum included Trinidad rum and possibly some others. All this is to say that there are likely some differences between this rum and the original British navy rum, but it’s also been 50 years so I think that’s to be expected.
I’ve had Pusser’s quite a few times in the past, and found it to be a good option for any recipe that calls for a Demerara rum, but decided to revisit it here on its own. It has a rich, molasses-y smell that is very much reminiscent of other Demerara rums – El Dorado 5 or Hamilton come to mind. Once I get past that there is a little bit of funky stone fruit, reminding me of apricots or peaches. The taste is mild and pleasant, and not particularly complex. There is a somewhat cloying molasses-y sweetness, and the fruit flavors follow through.
This is a solid option in the category of Demerara rums, although I’m not sure that the value is there versus something like an El Dorado 5. If this was the option in stock (which it was when I bought this bottle), I’d be happy to purchase it, and it will do a good job in any cocktail recipe calling for a Demerara rum.