Gunfire (drink)

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Type Mixed drink
Served stirred
Standard drinkware
Irish Coffee Glass (Mug).svg
Commonly used ingredients

1 cup of black tea
1 shot of rum

Preparation Pour the tea into a cup. Pour the rum in and stir.

Gunfire (or Gun-fire) is a British cocktail made of 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 Army[edit]

It is unknown when Gunfire was concocted; 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 armies[edit]

In Australia and New Zealand on ANZAC Day, a version of Gunfire with black coffee instead of tea is served to soldiers before 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]

A similar drink, particularly in the German-speaking world is 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. ^ a b 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". Bad Lads Army: Officer Class. Series 3. Episode 7. 8 September 2005. Event occurs at 37:43. ITV. ITV1. 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.