Gunfire Cocktail Recipe

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Gunfire Nutrition Facts






Created by

Nic Polotnianko

I fell in love with the art of mixology 6 years ago. Since then, I've honed my skills, crafting a myriad of cocktail recipes, and sharing my passion with other enthusiasts.

Last Updated: January 7, 2024


The Gunfire cocktail has its roots in the British military, where it was traditionally served to soldiers on Christmas morning as a way to warm them up and boost morale. It is said that the tradition dates back to the 1890s during the British colonial rule in Africa. The cocktail is a simple mix of black tea and rum, which was a common drink among the British military at the time.

  • Origin: British military
  • Time period: 1890s
  • Associated with: Christmas morning, colonial rule in Africa

How Gunfire Tastes?

The Gunfire cocktail has a warm, robust, and slightly sweet taste. The strong black tea provides a bold, earthy base, while the rum adds a rich, smooth sweetness. The combination creates a comforting and invigorating drink.

Interesting facts about Gunfire

  • The Gunfire cocktail was traditionally served to soldiers on Christmas morning as a way to warm them up and boost morale.
  • The cocktail is a simple mix of black tea and rum, which was a common drink among the British military at the time.
  • The tradition dates back to the 1890s during the British colonial rule in Africa.


Black Tea

Black tea is the sturdy base of the Gunfire cocktail, providing a deep and rich flavor profile that acts as a perfect canvas for the other ingredients. The caffeine kick might just be what you need to startle your taste buds awake. If you leave it out or go decaf, you'll lose the cocktail's backbone—like trying to ride a bike without wheels!

Emma Rose

Dark Rum

Dark Rum brings the firepower to the Gunfire cocktail, with its rich, sweet, and slightly spicy notes that mingle splendidly with the astringency of the black tea. The 1.5 oz measurement is a sweet spot—enough to pack a punch without knocking your senses out cold. No rum? No problem... but also, no Gunfire. It would be like a pirate without his ship: lost at sea!

Mary Mitkina

Lemon Wedge

The zing of the lemon wedge cuts through the darkness, bringing a bright, citrus note that lights up the whole drink. Miss it out, and you're missing that spark of acidity that balances the sweet and bitter notes—like a symphony without its violins.

Alex Green

Cinnamon Stick

Finally, the cinnamon stick is the garnish that works double-time, adding an aromatic spiciness to the nose while also infusing the drink with subtle, warm undertones as you sip. It's the encore presentation after a great performance. Without it, you can still enjoy the show, but you'll always be wondering what that missing magic note was.

Emma Rose

Recipe. How to make Gunfire Drink

  1. Brew a cup of strong black tea.
  2. Add 1.5 oz of dark rum to the tea.
  3. Squeeze a lemon wedge into the mixture and stir.
  4. Garnish with a cinnamon stick.

Pro Tips

  • Use high-quality black tea for a more robust flavor.
  • Warm the cup before adding the tea and rum to keep the drink hot longer.
  • Experiment with different types of rum to find your preferred taste.

Perfect Pairings

Breakfast and Brunch

  • Full English Breakfast: The robustness of the Gunfire cocktail cuts through the richness of a traditional English breakfast.
  • Butter Croissants: A light, buttery pastry complements the warming spices and citrus notes in the drink.


  • Chocolate Fondue: Dip fruits or marshmallows while sipping on this spiced and citrusy beverage for a playful combination of flavors.
  • Lemon Drizzle Cake: The citrus in both the cake and the cocktail will resonate, enhancing each other's flavors.

Afternoon High Tea

  • Scones with Cream and Jam: The spicy and citrus kick from the Gunfire cocktail provides a delightful contrast to the sweetness of the scones.
  • Assorted Tea Sandwiches: The dark rum's complexity is a great counterpoint to these light and savory treats.

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What you could change in Gunfire

  • Black tea: Can be replaced with any strong tea.
  • Dark rum: Can be substituted with brandy or whiskey.
  • Lemon wedge: An orange slice can be used for a different citrus note.
  • Cinnamon stick: Can be replaced with a star anise for garnish.

Explore all drinks starting with G here

And of course - twists🍹

Chai Gunfire

Replace black tea with a brewed cup of spicy chai for an extra kick of exotic spices. You'll get a drink that feels like a warm hug from the inside out—a true blend of East meets West in a cup.

Rumless Rebellion

Forgo the rum for a non-alcoholic version, using a dash of rum extract to impart some of the rum's flavor without the alcohol. Think of it as the Gunfire's more reserved cousin. Great for a sober night or those preferring less of a bang with their tea.

Iced Gunfire

Cool down the Gunfire by serving it over ice. This version is great for warmer days when you need refreshment with a kick. It’s like wearing a sweater on a chilly autumn day, but for your insides and with a tropical twist.

In case you forgot basics how to make Gunfire

Insert the spoon into the glass until it touches the bottom. Keep the back of the spoon against the inside wall of the glass, and stir in a smooth, circular motion. The goal is to swirl the ice and ingredients together without churning or splashing.

Learn everything on how to stir

Garnishing a bar drink depends on the type of garnish and the cocktail. Generally, it involves preparing the garnish (like cutting a citrus wheel or picking a sprig of mint), and then adding it to the drink in a visually appealing way (like perching it on the rim or floating it on top).

Learn everything on garnishing

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Frequently Asked Questions on Gunfire

What is the best type of rum to use for the Gunfire cocktail?

Most people prefer to use a dark rum for a Gunfire cocktail because it adds a greater depth of flavor, but feel free to experiment to find which type you like best.

How do I warm the cup before making the cocktail?

You can warm the cup by filling it with hot water and letting it sit for a few minutes. Then, simply dump out the water before you add your tea and rum.

Can this cocktail be served cold?

Yes, if preferred, the Gunfire cocktail can be cooled down and served over ice. However, it's traditionally served warm.

Are there any potential variations to the Gunfire cocktail?

Variations can include adding honey or a splash of milk. Some people also like to add various spices, like nutmeg or cloves, for a twist.

Is there a non-alcoholic version of the Gunfire cocktail?

You can make a non-alcoholic version of the Gunfire by simply omitting the rum. Add a little honey or a splash of lemon juice for added flavor.

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