The Navy Grog could make you groggy

Brian Rung

    Has anyone ever asked if you were feeling a little “groggy”? How did you answer?
    The term “groggy” is yet another drinking slang term that has roots in naval history. Grog was a cocktail of rum, citrus and water served aboard ships in the 1700's.  
    The Grog had two primary purposes: prevent scurvy, and to make the stagnant water aboard the ship more palatable.
    If you consumed too much grog, you became intoxicated, or some would say that you were “groggy.” These days the term is used to apply to someone who is sleepy rather than someone who is intoxicated.
    The Grog was given a new lease on life during the tiki revivial of the 1940's and 1950's, and became known as the Navy Grog.
    The Navy Grog never achieved the notoriety of the Mai Tai, the Zombie, or other iconic tiki drinks, but it did have a loyal fan in the White House.
    During the Watergate scandal, Richard Nixon would have the secret service call the Trader Vic's DC location to inform them that the president was coming over for a drink, possibly two.  
    The restaurant manager would be given about a 30 minute notice to clear the restaurant as the White House limousine headed over to the restaurant on 16th Street.
    Upon arrival, Nixon would sit alone at the bar pouring his heart out to the bartender while enjoying a Navy Grog.
    Many powerbrokers of the era frequented the DC Trader Vic's, but Nixon was their most famous regular and almost always ordered the Navy Grog.
    Like many of its tiki counterparts, the Navy Grog uses blends of multiple rums, each with unique flavor notes.
    Trader Vic, Donn Beach and other masterminds of the tiki era, made their living finding the perfect balance of rum for each drink served in their establishments.
    These original blends were closely guarded secrets that were known only to the owner of the establishment and the bartenders.
    Therefore, a Mai Tai at Trader Vic's was not going to taste the same as Donn's Mai Tai.
    Rum is divided into two general category, light and dark. Dark rum is sometimes revered to as “aged rum” in various recipes. Light rum is typically unaged, or aged for less than three years.
    Locating the different rums needed for a given recipe can become difficult when the recipe calls for Puerto Rican, Jamaican or Trinidad rum.  
    Don't panic, the country of origin is printed on the every rum label. Each rum producing region will have unique flavor profiles due to the method of distillation, blending and aging used in production.
    For example, some countries use molasses as opposed to cane sugar as a base for distillation. There is a good chance that you will like a rum from a particular region if you like other rums from that region.
    Avoid spiced rum in classic tiki drinks even though spiced rum is dark in color. Many, if not most, spiced rums are low-grade rums with heavy doses of added artificial flavoring and color.
    A quick glance at the recipe for the Navy Grog may be intimidating. It shouldn't be.
    This is your chance to put three different types of rum in your home bar that can be used in many other recipes, and will give you the opportunities to share your newly acquired knowledge of rum producing regions with your guests.
    For your Jamaican rum you can't go wrong with Appleton or Myer's. Both mix well and are widely available.
    Demerara rum is imported from Guyana. My favorite demerara for mixing is El Dorado 5. Angostura 5 and Zaya are two of the top mixers from Trinidad.
    Demerara syrup is essentially a simple syrup of 1:1 sugar to water using demerara sugar in place of cane sugar.
    You can find the darker-colored demerara sugar at your local grocery store under the Domino brand.
    Steer clear of pink or ruby red grapefruit juices in cocktails unless the recipe specifically calls for them.
    I keep a few six ounce cans 100 percent juice unsweetened grapefruit juice in my home bar at all times.
    Allspice dram is a Jamaican rum-based liqueur infused with allspice berries.  Availability of allspice dram could be hit or miss in your area, the brand that you are most likely to find is St. Elizabeth's from Jamaica.
    At some point club soda was added to the Navy Grog, and if you want to add a hint of sparkle to the drink, feel free to add an ounce.
    I would put the Navy Grog up there with the Mai Tai, and I think a heck of a lot of a good Mai Tai.
    The Navy Grog is built in a blender and served in a chilled double old-fashioned glass.
    Combine in blender:
    Add 3/4 oz fresh lime juice.
    Add 3/4 oz grapefruit juice.
    Add 1/4 oz demerara simple syrup.
    Add 1/4 oz allspice dram.
    Add 1 oz aged Trinidad rum.
    Add 1 oz aged Jamaican rum.
    Add 1 oz aged demerara rum.
    Add 1 cup crushed ice then blend for 3 seconds.
    Serve chilled double old-fashioned glass.
    Until next week, enjoy responsibly.