After publishing my “definitive” Ultimate Mai Tai HQ Navy Grog recipe on Saturday, I received a note with another Navy Grog recipe from a tiki VIP. Like, very V.I.P.
I was pleased to see the recipe was similar to mine (which perhaps prompted the message), though it used different rums. I was sworn to secrecy, so I won’t be spilling the beans, but let’s just say that I was humbled by the peek behind the curtain.
So, this is the secret benefactor Navy Grog. And I must say it was pretty damn good. Like, really really good. Anyone would be lucky to get this served to them in a tiki bar that might or might not be near you.
Personally, I liked mine a little bit better, mostly because the rums are handpicked and tuned to my palette. Though, since I used a total of five different rums (all mid to top shelf) it wouldn’t be easy to use them in a commercial bar.
Playing around with the Navy Grog this week has been fun. Now off to the next tiki cocktail challenge.
After trying the historical Navy Grog recipes from Don the Beachcomber and Trader Vic, I tried a modern riff that included elements of both recipes (see: Search for the Ultimate Navy Grog: Part 1). This combo recipe was even better, but still wasn’t quite the heavy cocktails I was looking for in a Navy Grog. So, I set sail to make my own.
The historical recipes lean on a mix of rums, including some lighter ones. But I felt that the rum should be darker and heavier, so I turned to an old standby: my house Mai Tai Rum blend. This is a mix of rums largely from Jamaica and this blend has a higher ABV ratio as well. I combined this rum with Lemon Hart, a mainstream Demerara rum. I also decided to go for the full three ounces of rum in the cocktail.
As a reminder, the Ultimate Mai Tai Rum mix is equal parts:
Appleton Estate Rare Blend Aged 12 Years (“Appleton 12”)
Smith & Cross Traditional Jamaica Rum
I really liked the soda in the modern riff, so I wanted to keep that in the recipe. But I also wanted a higher amount of honey and other sweeteners to balance the higher amount of rum. I decided to use an equal ratio of Pimento Dram and Vanilla Syrup, a combo historically known as Don’s Spices #2 from the Nui Nui.
Ultimate Mai Tai Navy Grog
¾ oz Lime Juice ¾ oz Grapefruit Juice 1 oz Honey mix ½ oz Pimento Dram (Hamilton) ½ oz Vanilla Syrup (BG Reynolds) 1 ½ oz Ultimate Mai Tai Rum 1 ½ oz Demerara Rum (Lemon Hart) Shake with crushed ice. After pouring into glass, top with 2 oz of Soda.
I really liked this, and it definitely reminded me of the great Navy Grogs I had at the Kon-Tiki in Oakland. If you like your Navy Grogs thick and heavy, I think you’ll love this recipe.