Sunday, June 10, 2012

Grog Talk

I'm off in Virginia for a photo assignment shooting OpSail for Spinsheet magazine. That means that I'm going to be on one of these bad boys.

Naturally this has me thinking about what is probably the mother of all Tiki drinks: Grog. I'm not thinking of the classic Tiki drink Navy Grog. I'm talking the real thing, daily rum ration, lime juice to prevent scurvy grog.

No one know the exact recipe for grog, likely I suspect it's because there wasn't one recipe for grog. I've seen and heard many different versions of "original" grog recipes. Everything from "1 of sweet, 2 of sour, 3 of strong, 4 of weak," (which is patently wrong as this is a punch recipe) to 1:1 of rum and water.

Now a little history:

Up until 1972 the British Navy regulations specified 1 pint of ale per day per sailor. This was fine while they were sailing the cold and gloomy North Atlantic close to home. As they began expanding their travels the ale soon became impractical. It would often go bad before the men could drink it. So the Admiralty responded in perhaps a strikingly practical way. They allowed the ale to be replaced with whatever the local drink that they could procure. In the Caribbean that meant rum. That's the first ingredient for grog.

The second important ingredient was citrus juice. Scurvy was a huge issue for sailors going back at least to the Romans, probably earlier. As early as 1497 citrus was known to have a curative effect on scurvy, though vitamin C wasn't isolated and identified until 1937.  Thanks to Admiral Edward Vernon of the British Navy, (known to his sailors as Old Grog for the grogram cloak that he wore) in 1740 citrus juice was added to the daily ration of rum. At this point we can say that we have grog consisting of water, rum, and citrus juice. Sailors likely would have added whatever they had handy to make this drink more palatable.

Me being me I decided that it would be interesting to play with a drink based on the idea of grog that would have been Piratically inspired. So I decided to create the drink below with the idea of an English Privateer using what they had available from successfully taking ships in their own version of a trading triangle.

Pirate Triangle
1 oz lime juice
1 oz white grapefruit juice
.5 oz lemon juice
.5 oz pimento dram
1 oz vanilla simple syrup
1 oz brandy
1 oz dark Jamaican rum
.5 oz Lemon Hart 151
Shake with  crushed ice.
Garnish with fresh grated nutmeg

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