The Navy Grog was a popular rum-based drink served for many years at the Polynesian-themed Don the Beachcomber restaurants; it is still served in many so-called tiki restaurants and bars. First created by Donn Beach, who almost single-handedly originated the tiki cultural fad of the 1940s and 1950s, it was one of dozens of rum concoctions that he, and later Trader Vic and numerous other imitators, sold in exotic tropical settings. Not quite as potent as the Beachcomber's more famous Zombie, it was, nevertheless, shown on the menu as being limited to two, or sometimes three, to a customer.
Etymology and origin
The word "grog" itself can refer to a variety of alcoholic beverages. It originally referred to a drink made with water and rum, which was introduced into the Royal Navy by British Vice Admiral Edward Vernon on August 21, 1740. Modern versions of the drink are often made with hot or boiling water, and sometimes include lemon juice, lime juice, cinnamon, or sugar to improve the taste. Rum with water, sugar, and nutmeg was known as Bumboo and was more popular with pirates and merchantmen.
To make the original Don the Beachcomber Navy Grog, place in a cocktail shaker 3/4 ounce each fresh lime juice, white grapefruit juice, and club soda; 1 ounce each gold Demerara rum, dark Jamaican rum, and white Cuban or Puerto Rican rum; and 1 ounce honey mix (2:1 honey and water). Shake with ice, then strain into a glass with crushed ice (or ice formed into a cone around a straw). There are several variant recipes, however, and most of these use fresh lime juice and grapefruit juice along with the rums. Some, though, also add passionfruit juice, while others use guava juice or club soda water instead. Some recipes specify a sweetening agent of honey mixed with unsalted butter, while others use honey mixed with water. Unlike other famous tiki cocktails such as the Zombie or Mai Tai, Navy Grog uses no exotically flavored syrups such as orgeat or falernum.
Whatever the exact recipe, traditionally it has always been served very cold in a large, broad-based Old Fashioned glass, into which a frozen snow cone of shaved ice has been placed, so that the customer sips the Grog through a straw that runs down through the cone.
- The header on the recipe for Navy Grog in Hawaii Tropical Rum Drinks & Cuisine by Don the Beachcomber, by Arnold Bitner and Phoebe Beach, Mutual Publishing, Honolulu, 2001, page 60, says that it is a "robust rum punch dedicated to all gallant men of all the navies of the world." An earlier Don the Beachcomber menu, however, says it is dedicated to the "gallant men of the American navy."
- Hawaii Tropic Rum Drinks & Cuisine by Don the Beachcomber, by Arnold Bitner and Phoebe Beach, Mutual Publishing, Honolulu, 2001, page 60; this recipe specifies honey as the sweetening agent and uses both guava juice and club soda water, as well as a dash of bitters
- This article incorporates material from the Citizendium article "Navy Grog", which is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License but not under the GFDL.
- Hawaii Tropical Rum Drinks & Cuisine by Don the Beachcomber, by Arnold Bitner and Phoebe Beach, Mutual Publishing, Honolulu, 2001
- How to Make a Navy Grog
- I’ll Have Some Rum, Hold the Umbrella - New York Times article featuring the Navy Grog