What Is Navy Strength Rum?

Navy strength rum is a type of rum that has become increasingly popular in recent years. But what exactly is navy strength rum, and what sets it apart from other types of rum?


Navy strength rum is so named because it was originally created for use by the British Navy. It is a high-proof rum, typically around 54-57% ABV, which is much stronger than most other types of rum. The higher alcohol content is said to have been necessary to ensure that gunpowder would still ignite even if it became dampened with rum.

Today, navy strength rum is enjoyed by rum enthusiasts around the world. It is known for its bold flavor and intense aroma, which make it a popular choice for use in cocktails. Despite its high alcohol content, it can be surprisingly smooth and easy to drink, making it a favorite among those who appreciate a good rum.

What is Navy Strength Rum

Navy Strength Rum is a type of rum that has a high alcohol content, typically 57% ABV (alcohol by volume) or 114 proof.


The term “navy strength” refers to the strength of the rum, which is said to be strong enough to still ignite gunpowder if it spills on it. It was traditionally used by the Royal Navy as a ration for sailors, hence the name.

Navy Strength Rum is not a specific type of rum, but rather a style of rum that can be produced from a variety of different rums. However, there are certain characteristics that are typically associated with Navy Strength Rum, such as a bold and intense flavor profile.

The high alcohol content of Navy Strength Rum makes it a popular choice for use in cocktails, as it can stand up to other strong flavors without being overpowered. It is also often used in Tiki-style drinks, which are known for their complex and layered flavors.

It is important to note that not all rums that are labeled as “navy-strength” are created equal. While the standard ABV for Navy Strength Rum is 57%, some rums may have a slightly lower or higher alcohol content. Additionally, the flavor profile of Navy Strength Rum can vary widely depending on the specific rum used, as well as the aging process and other factors.

History of Navy Strength Rum

Navy strength rum has a rich history that dates back to the 17th century. After the British Royal Navy successfully invaded Jamaica in 1655, sailors were given a daily ration of Jamaican-produced rum.


The daily rum ration replaced the sailors’ daily ration of French brandy or beer, which often spoiled during long voyages at sea.

Over time, the tradition of daily rum rations became widespread throughout the British Navy. The rum was typically served neat, without any mixers or dilution, and was often referred to as “Navy Rum” or “Nelson’s Blood” after the famous British Admiral Horatio Nelson.

In the 18th century, Admiral Edward Vernon of the British Navy ordered that the rum ration be diluted with water to prevent drunkenness and improve the health of the sailors. However, the sailors disliked the watered-down rum and often added their own spirits to the mix. This led to the invention of the “grog,” a mixture of rum, water, and lime juice that became a staple of the British Navy.

In the 19th century, the British Navy began to standardize the strength of its rum ration, and “Navy Strength” rum was born. Navy Strength rum typically has an alcohol content of around 57% ABV, which is higher than most other rums on the market. The higher alcohol content was necessary to ensure that the rum would still ignite if it accidentally spilled on gunpowder, a crucial safety feature on board a ship.

Today, Navy Strength rum is still popular among sailors and rum enthusiasts alike. Some of the most well-known Navy Strength rums include Pusser’s Rum, Lamb’s Navy Rum, and Black Tot. The latter is a reference to “Black Tot Day,” the day in 1970 when the British Navy ended its tradition of daily rum rations.

Navy Strength Rum is a type of rum that is bottled at a higher ABV (alcohol by volume) than most other rums.


It has a long history, dating back to the days when the Royal British Navy would issue daily rations of rum to sailors. Today, Navy Strength Rum is enjoyed by rum enthusiasts around the world for its bold flavor and high alcohol content.

One of the most popular Navy Strength Rums is Smith & Cross. Made on the same island where the Royal Navy first made rum a part of their everyday life, Smith & Cross is a blend of rums from Jamaica. It has a strong, fruity flavor with notes of banana, pineapple, and citrus. Smith & Cross is often used in cocktails like the Mai Tai and the Navy Grog.

Another popular Navy Strength Rum is Pusser’s. Pusser’s is a blend of rums from Guyana and Trinidad, and it is the same rum that was issued to sailors in the British Royal Navy until the tradition was abolished in 1970. Pusser’s has a rich, full-bodied flavor with notes of molasses, caramel, and spice. It is often used in cocktails like the Painkiller and the Dark and Stormy.

Plantation Rum is another brand that offers a Navy Strength option. Their Navy Strength rum is a blend of rums from Jamaica, Trinidad, and Barbados. It has a complex flavor profile with notes of tropical fruit, spice, and oak. Plantation Navy Strength is often used in cocktails like the Daiquiri and the Zombie.

Lost Spirits Navy Style Rum is a unique take on Navy Strength Rum. It is made using a proprietary aging process that involves exposing the rum to high-intensity light and heat. The result is a rum with a bold, smoky flavor that is unlike anything else on the market. Lost Spirits Navy Style Rum is often used in cocktails like the Old Fashioned and the Manhattan.

Please drink responsibly, be fully accountable with your alcohol consumption, and show others respect.

Written by Paul Kushner

I have always had a deep interest in the restaurant and bar industry. My restaurant experience began in 1997 at the age of 14 as a bus boy. By the time I turned 17 I was serving tables, and by 19 I was bartending/bar managing 6-7 nights a week.

In 2012, after a decade and a half of learning all facets of the industry, I opened my first restaurant/bar. In 2015, a second location followed, the latter being featured on The Food Network’s Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives.

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