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Before there was Tiki Lite, there was the original shipwrecked savior
Very few people choose the Navy Grog as their tiki beverage of choice. Perhaps I should just keep it all to myself.
This rum classic is NOT about an umbrella. The color of its liquid is as unremarkable as a cafeteria wall. It has a legendary, deep cut history that never advertised itself. Truly the Grog is an OG Tiki without a marketing campaign.
It was created by the inventor of the “Tiki” fantasy, Donn Beach. The whole notion was his fiction, of a “Polynesian” cocktail paradise. He was a nut with a chemistry bent, a playboy, a dropout. The Grog was his first fever dream, and although it never hit the “big time,” I think it was his best invention.
For those who grimace at the Mai Tai and the Zombie, this mariner grog might be your sweet spot. It’s exacting by simply: 2 rums, light and dark. Fresh grapefruit and lime juice from the fruit. An allspice liqueur which is luckily still produced by St. Elizabeth’s.
The classic Navy Grog requires three rums and honey syrup. Absolutely worth the effort.
But I want you to make a facsimile right now, without having to embark on an esoteric shopping trip. I’ll seduce you with an easy-peasy version. If you like this, just imagine what the full magilla would taste like.
You fill a 12 oz glass with crushed ice. I use my food processor to crush the ice perfectly. About 12 pulses to whisper soft.
And maybe you have one of those fancy refrigerators that makes it on the spot.
You are going to “build” this drink, which means you methodically pour each ingredient, in the order listed, one after another, over the ice.
Do not stir. Do not shake. James Bond has no place here.
The two or three different rums are crucial. You can’t pull this off with only one. They have different weights and different flavors. Don’t kid yourself.
The ice will melt a little. That’s fine.
On top of the crushed ice, you pour:
1 oz. light rum
1 oz. dark rum (preferable Demerrera Rum, which is all Guyanese rum, or if that’s too hard, get some Pusser’s ( A UK rum) or Gosling’s. A dark, earthy rum).
¾ oz. Fresh lime juice (notice I am emphasizing FRESH)
½ oz. grapefruit juice (I will allow you to use bottled, if needed)
¼ oz. Allspice Dram (this is what most pourers over pour. Use the light touch!)
½ oz. simple syrup or Agave syrup
Sprig of fresh mint, slapped (you take a mint leaf and “slap” it between your hands, like Kathrine Hepburn rebuking a man for getting fresh)
The Navy Grog doesn’t look like anything shocking, I know. But it is one of the best drinks ever invented.
It should be as famous as a Bloody Mary. Bloody hell! Navy Grog is how these poor men survived the journey around the Cape, and it ought to help out with our more prosaic struggles.