Recipe: Navy Grog (Donn Beach version)

I was in the mood for a Navy Grog on Friday, since I haven’t done proper tiki drinks in a while. The Navy Grog is pretty typical of tiki drink flavor profile, with a mix of citrus, rum, and sweet ingredients (not much spice in this one). One of the big points in the Navy Grog’s favor, however, is that it doesn’t require any ingredients that are particularly difficult to procure, nor any that are difficult to prepare – the most you’re doing is heating up some honey and water. This makes it a very good first tiki cocktail to make.

By coincidence, Friday was also “Black Tot Day,” the anniversary of the last day the British Royal Navy served rum rations to sailors – so if you saw a lot of Navy Grogs on Instagram (I’m guessing most of you didn’t) that would be why. I add a little information about this anniversary and the whole “tot” of rum tradition in a previous post where I review Pusser’s rum.

This recipe is actually Don Beach’s version from 1941 – there is also a Trader Vic’s version that is slightly different. I actually prefer this one because I really like the honey as a sweetener, and this reminds me of the one I had at Latitude 29 in New Orleans. More info on the history and other versions can be found at The Lost Tiki Lounge.


  • 1 oz Light Rum (Ron Abuelo)
  • 1 oz Dark Jamaican Rum (Appleton Estate Signature)
  • 1 oz Demerara Rum (El Dorado 3)
  • 1 oz Honey Mix
  • 3/4 oz Fresh Lime Juice
  • 3/4 oz Fresh Grapefruit Juice
  • 3/4 oz Club Soda (Topo Chico works well)
  • 1 mint sprig (for garnish)
  • 1 lime wedge (for garnish)
  • 1 Ice Cone (you can also use big cubes)


To make the honey mix, heat up equal parts water and honey in a pan. Stir until they seem well-incorporated, but make sure to stop before the mixture boils. This is an important step because the honey won’t mix properly if it’s not blended with the water first.

If using an ice cone, put a straw through the middle and put in the rocks glass. Otherwise, add the LARGE ice cubs (not the ones your freezer makes, they’ll dilute the drink too fast).

Add the rum, honey mix, lime juice, grapefruit juice, and club soda to a shaker, and fill with crushed ice. Either shake for about 15 seconds or flash blend (using a drink mixer), then strain into your glass.

Garnish with mint sprig and lime wedge. I recommend slapping the mint around a bit to release the oils.

A few things to note: I wouldn’t stray from the Jamaican rum and Demerara rum, but you have some room to switch around the light rum. The important thing is to use something decent quality and not spiced. Also, making the ice cone is a big pain in the ass – Cocktail Kingdom offers a cone kit to make this easier, but it hasn’t been in stock for a while. Big ice cubs are a good substitute.