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Gunfire (or Gun-fire) is a British cocktail comprising black tea and rum. It has its origins in the British Army and is also used as a name for early morning tea in the army.[1][2][3]


British ArmyEdit

It is unknown when Gunfire was invented; however it is known that it was mixed by British Army soldiers during the 1890s.[4] Gunfire is served by Officers and Non-Commissioned Officers to lower ranks before a morning attack (as a form of Dutch courage) and as a celebration before a Passing out parade.[5] It is also traditionally served to soldiers in their beds by their officers on Christmas Day at Reveille if they are deployed over Christmas.[6] Individual regiments may carry out the ritual on other days; for example, within the Royal Tank Regiment Gunfire is served on Cambrai Day.[7]

During the Korean War, members of the American Military Police Corps were given Gunfire by British soldiers under the guise of it being normal tea after a recovery mission. This led to intoxication of the MPs who then drove an Armoured recovery vehicle and some army jeeps into a camp gate as a result of Gunfire consumption.[6]

Australian and New Zealander armiesEdit

In Australia and New Zealand on ANZAC Day, a version of Gunfire with black coffee instead of tea is served to soldiers after dawn services as part of the "gunfire breakfast".[8]


Gunfire has also been made and drunk outside of military circles. Gunfire was served to participants of British reality programme, Bad Lads Army by the Non-Commissioned Officers before their passing out parade, mirroring the same procedure in the British Army.[9]

Gunfire is also drunk by Australian civilians as well to commemorate ANZAC Day.[10]

Gunfire is similar to Jagertee.


Gunfire consists of one cup of black tea with one shot of rum, which is then stirred in the cup.[11]


  1. "Band, Drums & Music". Queens Royal Surreys. Retrieved 11 June 2013. 
  2. "gun, n.". OED Online. June 2013. Oxford University Press. 18 June 2013
  3. MacDonald Fraser, George (2000). The Complete McAuslan. HarperCollins UK. pp. xiv. ISBN 0006513719. 
  4. Partridge, Eric (2002). A Concise Dictionary of Slang and Unconventional English (8th ed.). Routledge. p. 513. ISBN 0415291895. 
  5. Fisher, Russell (2008). Soldiers of Shepshed: Remembered 1914 – 1919. Shepshed: Troubador Publishing Ltd. p. 216. ISBN 1848760876. 
  6. 6.0 6.1 Dutton, John (2007). Korea 1950–53 Recounting Reme Involvement. Lulu. pp. 26–27. ISBN 0955675308. 
  7. "Regimental Day" Royal Tank Regiment Association
  8. Miller, Jack (2010). Kingdom Collision: The Movement of God's Spirit in a Time of War. CrossBooks. p. 69. ISBN 1462700365. 
  9. "Episode 3.7" (in English). 8 September 2005. Retrieved 11 June 2013. 
  10. Ian Rose (21 April 2013). "Anzac Day: 'over the top' takes on new meaning". Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 11 June 2013. 
  11. Miller, Dalyn (2006). The Daily Cocktail: 365 Intoxicating Drinks and the Outrageous Events that Inspired Them. Fair Winds. p. 122. ISBN 1610593790. 

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