Explorations in Mixology Cocktails Drinking

Navy Grog

For many people, September 19th is just an ordinary day. But for others, it is an anniversary or maybe even a birthday. Somehow, this day also became International Talk Like a Pirate Day. We’ve mentioned this in the past, and even wrote an entire post in pirate-speak. Today we are simply going to feature Navy Grog as our drink of the week.

There are as many Grog recipes as there are pirates with patched eyes. It seems that for every combination of rums there is some version of grog. One popular and historic Navy Grog calls for three types of rum: light Puerto Rican rum, dark Jamaican, and Demerara. It employs citrus in the form of lime and grapefruit juice and uses honey syrup to balance the sour.

Presentation can take on a variety of forms. Sometimes grog is served in a metal stein with a glass bottom (the common myth is that the glass allows you to lift your tankard to see if an officer has slipped you the King’s shilling—you should be able to see the coin and avoid conscription into the Royal Navy). This 1941 version from Don the Beachcomber (by way of Beach Bum Berry Remixed) calls for a double old-fashioned glass with an ice-cone straw. Although a glass-bottomed mug is exciting and may have historical significance, not everyone owns one so we opted for the ice-cone. It’s not absolutely necessary to prepare ice in this manner—you could simply serve this on the rocks or use a big chunk—but since we had never tried it before we thought it might be an interesting challenge, given our other experiments with ice.

Navy Grog
1 oz light Puerto Rican rum
1 oz dark Jamaican rum
1 oz Demerara rum
.75 oz lime juice
.75 oz grapefruit juice
1 oz honey syrup
.75 oz soda water

Shake everything with ice cubes and strain into a double old-fashioned glass with an ice-cone straw.

One way to make a good ice cone is to start with shaved ice. Pack this into a pilsner glass which will give you the basic shape, then carefully poke a hole down the center with a chopstick. Place the glass into the freezer overnight to allow the shaved ice to resolidify in the shape of the cone, then take it out, place it into the grog and slip a straw into the hole.

That might have worked for us if we had an ice shaver and a pilsner glass. As it happens, we don’t, so it was time to improvise. Using heavy aluminum foil, it’s possible to fold a large square piece into a triangle that you can open on one end. Think of how a paper napkin is folded and you’ll get the idea. Partially open the folded aluminum from a corner. Using a chopstick, coax the foil into a smooth cone configuration and stand it pointed end down into a pint glass. You may want to test your cone with water to make sure it doesn’t leak. Drop in a straw or a chopstick, fill with crushed ice and add a little water. Let it freeze this way for several hours. The only problem with this technique is that the straw will become frozen in place. You will have to unwrap the foil and pull out the straw with some water. We were impatient, so our cone tip hadn’t completely solidified, but if you have a better idea, leave a comment and us know what worked for you.

You don’t need to be able to talk like a pirate to drink like one. If you can turn a few cute phrases with references to ships, sails or the sea, good for you. For the rest of us, there’s grog to be had. Arrr!

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11 years ago

That sounds absolutely DELICIOUS!