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How to Make Grog the Sailors Drink


Grog was a popular drink among sailors in the 18th century. Today, many people across the world still consume it.


Grog is fun and easy to make. Read on to learn about the history of the drink, where it comes from, and how to make grog yourself.

What Is Grog?

When most people think of grog, pirates and sailors likely come to mind. 


Historically, grog was a drink that sailors made for long voyages. They made grog by combining rum and water. Sugarcane or honey added a sweet flavoring. Sometimes, the sailors added lemon or lime.


In modern times, grog has expanded to many different varieties. The term “grog” can describe many different kinds of alcoholic drinks. In slang, “grog” can refer to any alcoholic beverage mixed with flavoring or soda. 


We are going to learn how to make an authentic sailor’s grog. Our grog will be a simple combination of rum, water, honey, and lemon or lime.

History of Grog

Grog finds its origins in British nautical tradition. It was introduced as part of a sailor’s rations in the 18th Century by Vice-Admiral Edward Vernon. His practice of wearing a coat made from grogham cloth led to the nickname “Old Grog,” which then lent itself to the drink.


The ration became an invaluable means of sustaining sailors on long journeys. Water was often dirty and became rancid on the ocean voyages. In contrast, alcohol did not cause health problems because it was a fermented drink.


Sailors began drinking rum on their ships, but they could not pack enough of it for an entire voyage. They needed an alcoholic drink that was in a diluted form. Additionally, the high alcohol content of rum often caused drunkenness. Sailors required a solution to these problems, and thus grog was born.


Grog, a simple mixture of rum and water, soon became a staple item for sailors all over the world.

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Standard grog is a simple mixture of rum and water.

Grog as a Health Drink

When you enjoy a mug of grog, you probably won’t think of it as a health drink.


However, grog reputedly had its origins as a life-saving medicinal drink. As grog soared in popularity among sailors, some added lemon or lime to the beverage. Lemons and limes helped prevent scurvy, an illness caused by a lack of Vitamin C.


Thanks to grog, sailors began to see their health improve. The drink helped them receive the vitamins they needed, and grog remained a staple item among sailors


Variations of Grog

Standard grog is a simple mixture of rum and water. However, as the drink became more popular, sailors made different varieties.


Since sugarcane was readily available in the Caribbean, many sailors added sugarcane to their grog as a sweetener.


American sailors sometimes used rye whiskey instead of the typical rum solution.


Sailors experimented with different local spices. The Caribbean is home to spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger. Many of these found their way into grog recipes.

Grog Ratios

The traditional mix of grog is a 4:1 water-to-rum ratio. When you’re making a grog drink, how much alcohol you want to add is up to you.

What Kind of Rum to Use in Grog?

Rum is an alcoholic drink that comes from distilled sugarcane. Choose the right kind of rum when making your grog. 


Navy rum is the best choice for grog. That is a combination of several types of rum. The blends typically come from Jamaica, Barbados, Guyana, and Trinidad.


The rum was the standard beverage for sailors in the British Royal Navy. After the United States formed its own navy, they too began drinking navy rum on their ships.


This drink has a very warming flavor. It is nutty, rich, and flavorful, and often contains spices native to the Caribbean. 

In short, navy rum is the most authentic and tasty choice for your grog recipe. Learn how to make different kinds of rum beverages on


Fun Facts About Grog

The word “groggy” comes from the drink.


Grog got its name from Edward Vernon, an admiral in England known for his thick grogram coat. He went by the name “Old Grog.”


The Royal Navy ended the grog ration on July 30th, 1970. This day became known as Black Tot Day (the daily ration was known as “The Tot”), and many people commemorate the occasion by drinking rum or grog.


While it is traditionally a hot drink, some sailors added ice to their grog in the 1800s.


How to Make Grog

Making grog can be a fun group activity for you and your friends. If you’re having a sailor-themed party, grog is the perfect beverage to serve.


If you are looking to sharpen your mixology skills, we offer a wide variety of courses on


To make grog, you will need a bottle of Navy Rum. Mix the rum with your chosen amount of water. Remember, traditional grog had a 4:1 ratio. 


Next, add lemon or lime. You always want to use fresh ingredients. Try to purchase fresh citrus and squeeze it right before adding it to the grog.


Finally, your grog will need a sweetener. Sailors typically chose honey as a sweetener, but some chose to use sugarcane. Most modern bartenders choose a sugar mixture.

Should I Serve My Grog Hot?

Yes, grog is traditionally a hot beverage. Sailors needed a warm, comforting drink to keep the cold sea weather at bay. 


Serve your grog in a heat-safe container if you wish to drink it the traditional way.


You can adapt the recipe to suit your own needs. If you want to make grog a cold drink, pour it over ice and serve in a double old-fashioned glass.

Optional Variations

When it comes to making your grog, the possibilities are endless. Follow the recipe closely, or add a personal twist. Some optional add-ins are:


  • Cinnamon
  • Star anise
  • Ginger
  • Dry Curacao
  • Grapefruit juice
  • Orange juice
  • Pineapple juice
  • Brown sugar
  • Nutmeg

Grog Recipe

This is one of the most common recipes when making quintessential grog.



  • 1 ounce of Navy rum
  • 3 ounces of water
  • 1/2 ounce of freshly squeezed lemon or lime
  • 3 tablespoons of honey



  • Bring the water to a boil
  • Turn off the heat, and add the rest of the ingredients
  • Stir until it reaches a smooth texture
  • Pour into a heat-safe mug

Final Thoughts

So, now you know how to make grog! It has long been synonymous with maritime history and a staple of countless sailors. With this recipe on hand, you’ll have an authentic grog drink fit for a jolly Jack Tar!

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