What Was Originally Added To Rum To Make Grog? How Will You Take Your Navy Grog?

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Prep:
3 mins

Cook:
0 mins

Total:
3 mins

Serving:
1 serving

Yield:
1 cocktail
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
291 Calories
0g Fat
26g Carbs
1g Protein

Show Full Nutrition Label

×

Nutrition Facts
Servings: 1
Amount per serving
Calories 291
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 0g 0%
Saturated Fat 0g 0%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 4mg 0%
Total Carbohydrate 26g 10%
Dietary Fiber 1g 3%
Total Sugars 21g
Protein 1g
Vitamin C 27mg 135%
Calcium 25mg 2%
Iron 0mg 2%
Potassium 142mg 3%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Navy grog is one of those cocktails that has so many variations that you would be lucky to find two recipes that match. The likely reason is that there are quite a few ingredients in this drink. As it was passed from bartender to bartender, things were missed, added, misinterpreted, or simply personalized.

The drink began exactly as it sounds, as a refreshment for British sailors. It was a way to enhance and preserve the water they stored on the ship and get vitamins to fight diseases such as scurvy. This grog dates to the mid-1700s and was typically a mix of rum, water, honey or molasses, lemon, and cinnamon. It was served either hot or cold.

The navy grog recipes that are most familiar today stem from the tiki bar scene, which began in the 1940s. It is said that Don Beach was the first to mix it up. Trader Vic’s has a claim on the cocktail’s invention as well. Both of their recipes are featured here, with Don the Beachcomber’s being this first listing. Try each to see which you like best.

“The Navy Grog can be considered one of the first tiki cocktails to wash up on shores with sailors looking for a binge. This recipe showcases the lustfully candy notes of a primed cocktail. Citrusy sweet notes, a deliciously complex rum backbone, and refreshing coolness make this cocktail the highlight of any shore leave.” —Sean Johnson

Navy Grog Tester Image
A Note From Our Recipe Tester

Ingredients

  • 1 ounce dark rum

  • 1 ounce demerara rum

  • 1 ounce white rum

  • 3/4 ounce lime juice

  • 3/4 ounce white grapefruit juice

  • 1 ounce honey syrup

  • 2 ounces club soda, or to taste

  • Orange slice, for garnish

  • Cherry, for garnish

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Navy grog ingredients

    The Spruce Eats / Teena Agnel
  2. Pour the rums, juices, and syrup into a cocktail shaker, and fill with ice.

    Pour into shaker

    The Spruce Eats / Teena Agnel
  3. Shake well.

    Shake well

    The Spruce Eats / Teena Agnel
  4. Strain into a collins glass filled with fresh ice.

    Strain into a collins glass

    The Spruce Eats / Teena Agnel
  5. Garnish with an orange slice and cherry skewer. Serve and enjoy.

    Garnish

    The Spruce Eats / Teena Agnel

Tip

Honey syrup is simply watered-down honey, which makes it easier to mix into drinks. To make it, combine equal parts of honey and water and mix it well until you get an even consistency.

Variations

Trader Vic’s Navy Grog: There is not a big difference in this recipe from Don the Beachcomber’s above. The key difference is the use of pimento dram (or an allspice syrup) in place of the honey syrup. Also, notice that less grapefruit is used here and this is one of the few Navy grog recipes that skip the soda.

  • 1 ounce light Puerto Rican rum
  • 1 ounce gold Jamaican rum​
  • 1 ounce demerara rum
  • 3/4 ounce fresh lime juice
  • 1/2 ounce grapefruit juice
  • 3/4 ounce pimento (allspice) dram

This cocktail is shaken and served over a mound (or customarily, an inverted ice cone) of finely shaven ice with a straw stuck inside.

Dale DeGroff’s Navy Grog: Dale DeGroff (also known as King Cocktail) has a completely different take on Navy grog in his book, “The Craft of the Cocktail.” It certainly leans more toward that traditional 18th-century grog of British sailors and is an equally great cocktail.

  • 1 1/2 ounces Pusser’s Navy Rum
  • 1 ounce orange curaçao
  • 3/4 ounce fresh lime juice
  • 2 ounces water
  • 2 ounces fresh orange juice
  • Dash of Angostura bitters

Shake the ingredients with ice and pour into a double old-fashioned glass.

How Strong Is a Navy Grog?

Estimating the alcohol content on a drink like this is tricky. Each of the rums can be stronger than 80 proof, and the volume of soda can vary when it’s included. Don Beach’s Navy grog mixes up to around 18 percent ABV (36 proof), for instance. Trader Vic’s, on the other hand, is a little stronger at 22 percent ABV (44 proof), or so. The lightest of the three, DeGroff’s version mixes up to 12 percent ABV (24 proof), or about the strength of a Rum & Coke.

Video about What Was Originally Added To Rum To Make Grog?

Sober Sailors – Rum Rations In The Navy: Grog

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