Yo-ho-ho and a bottle of rum: what Black Tot Day is, and how to celebrate it in style

31 July 1970 was a dark day indeed, as this was when the Royal Navy stopped issuing rum rations to its sailors. Black Tot Day is now commemorated on 31 July each year, as a celebration of all things rum. Here’s how you can get loaded to the gunwall this Black Tot Day.

1. Hit a rum bar

If you truly want to immerse yourself in rum-infused food and drinks, then a rum bar is where you want to be. Rum is still a bit of an underdog when it comes to specialty bars in South Africa, but there are two that we know of: Brian Lara Rum Eatery in Linden, Joburg, and the Rum Bar at SeaBreeze Fish & Shell on Bree Street, Cape Town.

2. Hang out with Ms Rum 

Always a game venue, Orphanage Cocktail Emporium will be throwing an actual Black Tot Day celebration this year. As it falls on a Monday, they’ll be delaying shenanigans until Thursday 3 August, when they’ll have three specially designed Mount Gay Rum cocktails on offer, plus some other cool rum buffoonery going on. It’s also First Thursday, so it promises to be a fun one – make sure you make a pass by and hang out with Caitlin Hill for a bit; as the Mount Gay brand ambassador there’s little she doesn’t know about rum.

3. Learn to swear like a sailor

The salty sea dogs of yore were known for their colourful language. This Black Tot Day, pay them homage by learning a few killer insults, like these:

‘The back o’ me hand to yer snivelin’ mouth ye syphilitic puppy killin’ slimey bastitch!’

‘Go pose in front o’ the mirror some more ye duck-knee’d dung munchin’ crap sack!’

‘Have a face full o’ me boot ye jelly boned thumb suckin’ crud bucket!’

‘Go slam yer head on a marlin spike ye pig faced butt scratchin’ scurvy baboon!’

For more, click here.

4. Swig rum in front of the telly

If you’re looking for films featuring rum, you can’t go wrong with pirate flicks. Start with the classics of Blackbeard’s Ghost and Treasure Island, then move on the Pirates of the Caribbean series, which actually has a dedicated drinking game. Among other rules, whenever someone says ‘captain’, ‘savvy’, ‘pirate(s)’ or ‘ship’, take a drink.

Although not a pirate film, The Rum Diary is another great rum film, also featuring Johnny Depp, and it too has a dedicated drinking game. We’re not exactly sure what a ‘Depp face’ is, but we’re all for drinking rum while watching the film.

5. Get as drunk as a pirate

Speaking of drinking games, there are a few goodies specifically for rum. The online game Drunk Pirate is a Russian roulette of drinking tasks, while Walk the Plank will have you relying on the discernment of your taste buds to stay sober. Of course, you can play staples like Coinage too, and just serve rum. 

6. Take a spin on the Jolly Roger

Gather your maties and go for a drunken cruise around Table Bay in Cape Town on the hilarious Jolly Roger Pirate Boat. It includes a pirate show and a cash bar. Don’t forget your sea-sick tablets.

This post first appeared on Food24 on 26 July 2017.