Navy Grog Cocktail

Navy grog is one of those cocktails that has so many variations that you would be lucky to find two recipes that match. The likely reason is that there are quite a few ingredients in this drink. As it was passed from bartender to bartender, things were missed, added, misinterpreted, or simply personalized.

The drink began exactly as it sounds, as a refreshment for British sailors. It was a way to enhance and preserve the water they stored on the ship and get vitamins to fight diseases such as scurvy. This grog dates to the mid-1700s and was typically a mix of rum, water, honey or molasses, lemon, and cinnamon. It was served either hot or cold.

The Navy grog recipes that are most familiar today stem from the tiki movement, which began in the 1940s. It is said that Don Beach was the first to mix it up. Trader Vic’s has a claim on the cocktail’s conception as well. Both of their recipes are featured here, with Don the Beachcomber’s being this first listing. Try each to see which you like best.

Navy Grog Cocktail

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The two tiki giants mentioned above have both taken credit for this modernized Navy Grog cocktail. Yet, neither can claim to have invented the Navy Grog because it was the name given to the daily rum ration of British sailors in the 1700’s.

You Will Need: light, dark, and demerara rums, lime juice, grapefruit juice, honey, club soda

Rum and lime juice are the only ingredients that everyone can seem to agree on when it comes to the Navy Grog. Yet, one thing’s for sure, you will need to have ​a good supply of rum to mix up any of these recipes.


    • 1 ounce white rum
    • 1 ounce demerara rum
    • 1 ounce dark rum
    • 3/4 ounce lime juice
    • 3/4 ounce white grapefruit juice
    • 1 ounce honey syrup
    • 2 ounces club soda (or enough to fill)
    • Garnish: 1 orange slice
    • Garnish: 1 cherry

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.
  2. Pour the rums, juices, and syrups into a cocktail shaker filled with ice.
  3. Shake well.
  4. Strain into a Collins glass filled with ice.
  5. Garnish with an orange slice and cherry skewer.
  6. Serve and enjoy!


Honey syrup is simply watered-down honey, which makes it easier to mix into drinks. To make it, combine equal parts of honey and water and mix it well until you get an even consistency.


Trader Vic’s Navy Grog: There is not a big difference in this recipe from Don the Beachcomber’s above. The key difference is the use of pimento dram (or an allspice syrup) in place of the honey syrup. Also, notice that less grapefruit is used here, and this is one of the few Navy grog recipes that skip the soda.

    • 1 ounce light Puerto Rican rum
    • 1 ounce gold Jamaican rum​
    • 1 ounce demerara rum
    • 3/4 ounce fresh lime juice
    • 1/2 ounce grapefruit juice
    • 3/4 ounce pimento (allspice) dram

This cocktail is shaken and served over a mound (or customarily, an inverted ice cone) of finely shaven ice with a straw stuck inside.

Dale DeGroff’s Navy Grog: Dale DeGroff (also known as King Cocktail) has a completely different take on Navy grog in his book, “The Craft of the Cocktail.” It certainly leans more to that traditional 18th-century grog of British sailors and is an equally great cocktail as the tiki drinks above.

    • 1 1/2 ounces Pusser’s Navy Rum
    • 1 ounce orange curaçao
    • 3/4 ounce fresh lime juice
    • 2 ounces water
    • 2 ounces fresh orange juice
    • Dash of Angostura bitters

Shake the ingredients with ice and pour into a double old-fashioned glass.

How Strong Is a Navy Grog?

Estimating the alcohol content on a drink like this is tricky. Each of the rums can be stronger than 80 proof, and the volume of soda can vary when it’s included. Don Beach’s Navy grog mixes up to around 18 percent ABV (36 proof), for instance. Trader Vic’s, on the other hand, is a little stronger at 22 percent ABV (44 proof), or so. The lightest of the three, DeGroff’s version mixes up to 12 percent ABV (24 proof), or about the strength of a Rum & Coke.