A Cuppa Courage: ANZAC Day Gunfire Breakfast

A Cuppa Courage: ANZAC Day Gunfire Breakfast

As April 25th draws nearer, we are preparing to stop and salute the ANZAC (Australian and New Zealand Army Corp) soldiers who fought for us from WWI to the current-day conflicts. Let's have a moment of silence on the day to salute those who brace the battlefields, fought for our freedom and were part of what makes our wonderful country.

Photo: Soldiers in the Korean War enjoy a cuppa from Red Shield Representative John Semmens

But how does ANZAC day relate to breakfast... and gunfire?

Let alone coffee?

A Brief History of the Gunfire Breakfast

It all harks back to a tradition known as a “gunfire breakfast”, which, thankfully, is not nearly as violent as it sounds and is something you can do to mark your recognition and thanks to the ANZACs.

If you’ve never come across the term before, a gunfire breakfast is a tradition associated with ANZAC Day, typically involving a meal of coffee laced with rum or another alcoholic beverage and sometimes including bacon, eggs, and other breakfast foods.

The tradition is said to have originated from soldiers being served a hot drink, often with alcohol, before going into battle as a way to calm their nerves and provide warmth. Its roots start with the British, who offered their soldiers tea before going on the morning parade. With the start of WWI, this tea was often given a bit of a kick to it, the “gunfire” being supplied to them before battles.

Today, the gunfire breakfast is usually enjoyed after the dawn service, which is held in the early morning to pay respects to the fallen soldiers. Shared between soldiers and service people who swap stories and memories, it’s a tradition that’s not as well known as others on ANZAC day but an important one. It’s evolved into something the whole community can take part in often after attending the Dawn Service.

Brewing up a Storm

So where does the coffee come in if this all started with Tea? While we know the British love a good cup of tea, the rest of our military ranks soon preferred coffee over tea.

ANZAC soldiers in WWI were served a ration of tea, but when coffee was available and to be found it tended to be the preferred option for a morning kick-start.

With that, the gunfire tradition soon turned into coffee and rum or any other spirit that was close at hand as liquid courage to face what the day brought.

Put the 'Gunfire' in Your Coffee

Feeling inspired to try your hand at concocting your own gunfire breakfast beverage? Look no further! We've got you covered with a simple recipe that'll have you raising a brewing cuppa courage just like the ANZACs.

This is the traditional recipe, i.e. the alcoholic one. We do not recommend adding alcohol to your morning coffee, so we’ve given you a few flavoured coffee options to replicate the taste without the alcohol content.


1 cup freshly brewed Coffee Connection Coffee

1 oz dark rum (or any other spirit you fancy) - for the non-alcoholic version, we recommend our flavoured beans in Irish Cream, Tiramisu, or Jack Daniels.

1 tsp brown sugar (optional)

Whipped cream (optional)


1. Brew your favourite Coffee Connection coffee.

2. Pour the dark rum into your coffee and stir - skip this step if your using flavoured beans and don’t want a mid-day hangover.

3. If you prefer a touch of sweetness, add a teaspoon of brown sugar and mix well.

4. Top it off with a dollop of whipped cream for that extra indulgence.

5. Raise your cup in honour of the ANZACs and enjoy your coffee with a twist of history.

As we commemorate ANZAC Day and pay tribute to the brave men and women who served their countries, we invite you to join us in celebrating their legacy with a unique blend of caffeine tradition.

Go ahead, brew yourself a cup of 'gunfire' coffee, and let's toast to the enduring spirit of the ANZACs.

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