Gunfire - A drink with more history than % ABV

The "gunfire" drink is a traditional British cocktail made by mixing hot water, rum, and sometimes sugar or spices. Its origins are unclear, but it is believed to have been popularized during World War I, when it was served to soldiers in the trenches.

One theory is that the name "gunfire" comes from the practice of using a heated iron cannonball to heat the water for the drink, creating a sound similar to gunfire. Another theory is that it was named for the sound of the rum being ignited, similar to the practice of "proofing" rum in the British Navy.

Proofing was a method used to test the alcohol content of rum by soaking gunpowder in it and then igniting it. If the gunpowder burned steadily, the rum was considered "proof." This ensured that the rum was of the proper strength and quality for consumption.

During World War I, gunfire became a popular drink among British soldiers in the trenches. It was often served to troops on cold and wet days to warm them up and lift their spirits. It was also sometimes mixed with tea or coffee to make a hot toddy.

In addition to its practical uses, gunfire was also seen as a symbol of bravery and camaraderie. Soldiers would often share the drink and toast to their fellow soldiers' courage and sacrifice.

The tradition of drinking gunfire at Christmas time also emerged during World War I. Soldiers would gather around a fire and toast to their loved ones back home, using gunfire as a way to maintain a connection to their civilian lives.

The recipe for gunfire can vary, but a basic recipe involves mixing hot water and rum in a mug or glass. Sugar, honey, or spices such as cinnamon or nutmeg can be added to taste.

The first mention of the "gunfire" drink in print appears to be in a book titled "The British Army in France After Dunkirk" by Patrick Delaforce, which was published in 1990. However, it is believed to have been a popular drink among soldiers during World War I and may have been mentioned in letters and diaries from the time.

The tradition of officers serving gunfire to soldiers has been a longstanding practice in the British military, dating back to World War I.

During the war, gunfire was a popular drink among soldiers in the trenches, providing warmth and a morale boost during the cold and difficult conditions of warfare. It was not uncommon for officers to serve the drink to their troops as a way of boosting morale and showing solidarity with their men.

This tradition continued through subsequent conflicts, including World War II and the Falklands War, and became a symbol of camaraderie and respect between officers and enlisted soldiers.

In addition to its practical uses, the act of serving gunfire was also seen as a way for officers to demonstrate their leadership and commitment to their troops. By taking the time to prepare and serve the drink, officers showed that they were willing to go the extra mile to support their soldiers and boost morale.

Today, the tradition of officers serving gunfire to soldiers is still observed in some units of the British military, particularly during training exercises and other events. It is seen as a way to honour the history and traditions of the military, while also fostering a sense of camaraderie and respect between officers and enlisted personnel.