It's a special time of year, and with Christmas Eve fast approaching, we need something particularly island-y and special to celebrate. Zickie and I asked ourselves, "What new drink can we share with our Island Runaways friends?" It couldn't be a piña colada, or a tequila sunrise, or something overly fruity and tropical. It needed to say: a cozy winter's Christmas Eve.
"Grog!" I exclaimed suddenly. "We have to make grog!"
"Great idea," Zickie agreed.
Then we realized not only did we NOT know the recipe, we didn't actually know what grog WAS. But we knew it involves rum, and that's a good start.
So, as in all things these days, we turned to the internet and did a little research. So, what is grog? One story goes that grog was named for Vice Admiral Edward Vernon of the British Navy, whose nickname was "Old Grog." Back in the 1740s Old Grog had his sailors drink a special concoction, made of water (which often got slimey on long voyages), some citrus juice such as lime or lemon (to make the water taste less awful), and rum. People began to notice that Grog's men did not suffer from scurvy the same way other sailors did. (Eventually, they realized the citrus juice with its Vitamin C made all the difference.) Pirates and men on private ships (as opposed to the navy) also enjoyed their own version of grog -- called bumbo -- with the addition of cinnamon and sugar. Some versions also include nutmeg and use boiling hot water.
Thus informed, Zickie assembled his ingredients:
1. Mount Gay rum from Barbados (not his patriotic favorite, Appleton, from Jamaica, but one of my favorite rums),
2. Brown sugar
4. Cinnamon sticks
5. Ground nutmeg
He poured the rum into a glass and mixed it with the brown sugar. Then Zickie boiled water, added that, and stirred the drink with a cinnamon stick. After that, lemon and nutmeg were added and swirled in. Then we tasted.
How did grog taste? It tasted fairly nice. Warm, cozy, citrusly, and sweetened but not too sweet. Nice! Worth a try!
Since we're not sailors in the Royal Navy on rum rations, we might alter the recipe so that the drink doesn't taste quite so watery. Next time, we might add a bit of boiling water at a time, and then taste as we go. Leaving the cinnamon stick to steep in the drink for a minute or two also seems to be a good idea, so that the flavor infuses the liquid. Perhaps fresh grated nutmeg could be a nice touch, too!
All in all, Zickie and I were happy with our maiden voyage into grog making. With some tinkering, the recipe could wind up being a holiday special! Have you ever tried grog yourself? If you give this recipe a try, let us know in the comments section or on Facebook how your beverage turned out.
And from us Islands Runaways, to you, our fellow island lovers, we say: Cheers to the Holidays!