Although we go misty eyed at the thought of
the "tot" there is no doubt that rum ration was a contributing factor to a considerable amount of "ill discipline" in the Royal Navy and it was perhaps the cause (directly and indirectly) of more major punishments than any other single factor: I know that many WRNS didn't relish the antics of their male colleagues p.m.
It did, however, have its compensating factors ie when food was poor it made it palatable and when the messdeck was damp and noisy and smelt foul you could be sure of a good afternoon's kip after completing a Middle Watch
The main problem with grog, in my humble opinion, was that many didn't drink all their tot all the time and used to pass it around the mess as "sippers" for the hardened core of drinkers and "grog money" was worth so little that it wasn't worth claiming in lieu.
In addition, many favours could be obtained
with the "tot", in so much, that it became a form of currency ie "sippers", "gulpers", "three fingers" and a "tot" all had value in an ad hoc world of bargaining perhaps where someone would cover for someone else at a "muster of hands" or someone would carry out another task in exchange! It was surprising what lengths a "hardened bubbly rat" would go to obtain more than his daily ration of "grog".
In senior rates messes it became quite common for those who didn't care to take their neat tot every day to bottle it and after a period of time one could accumulate quite large quantities. I went on some ships where the senior rates messes had bottled the stuff and sealed it in proper rum jars that pusser no longer required and were
saving it for special occasions! Some occasions!!
In later years the tot was often issued at the end of the working day, rather than at the traditional time of "Up Spirits" ie 1130-1200, for those working with machinery, such as flight crews and maintainers etc!