Mixology Monday: And It’s All For Me Grog

Good day internet cocktailians the world over. Welcome to Rum Month at the Dram. The subject for this month’s Mixology Monday is “19th Century Cocktails.” While the drinks I present today aren’t necessarily cocktails per say, they are certainly mixed drinks that were popular at some level in the 19th Century and early 20th Century. Today I am playing with three or four ingredients: lime juice, sugar, rum, water, and the occaisional addition of lemon juice, mint, or triple sec.

The first drink up on our tour of rum sours is one of the most traditional, and, arguably, the origin of many modern sours, at least those on the English islands. The origin of this drink is the Royal Navy. Of course sailors could not be expected to sail their ships sober, so the Admiralty began issuing a pint of rum every day in two installments. To cut down the taste of strong navy rum, and also to prevent sailors from hoarding it, they added a lot of water. The story goes that Admiral Vernon added citrus juice to the stagnant, foul water that was common on naval ships of the era to try and make the combination of foul rum and foul water more palatable. Sailors would then add whatever they cold to sweeten the drink. Vernon was known as Old Grog variously because of his grogram coat or because he was “groggy” or crazy in the parlance of the time, and gave his name to this concoction:

Royal Navy Grog (Traditional)

  • 1 gill (4 oz.) – Rum
  • 1 quart (16 oz.) – Water
  • 1 oz. – Lime Juice
  • To taste – Whatever sweetener is on hand. (Honey, molasses, etc. but not refined sugar)

Mix together in whatever drinking vessel is available and serve at room temperature. The traditional method of drinking is to slam the whole concoction. You want a garnish? You’re on a ship of war. Don’t be rediculous.

It’s a bit unrefined, and, to my palate at least, the lime clashes a bit with the dark rum. So why not try a white rum, you ask. Ah, now we get into a bit of a debate: How do you juice the lime? What ratio of lime to sugar do you use? What sort of sugar do you use and in what form? What type of white rum do you use? The answers to these questions give you a wide variety of basic rum sours. Let’s start with the most classic, at least in America. We juice our limes careful to avoid pulp or oils, and use white granulated sugar in a syrup:

The Daiquiri (Classic)

  • 2 parts (2 oz.) – White Rum (Cruzan Estate Light is my preference, but a Cuban style would be more tradional)
  • 1 part (1 oz.) – Lime Juice
  • 1 part (1 oz.) – Simple or Invert Syrup

Shake with ice and serve either over crushed ice in a tall bar glass or straight up in a stemmed cocktail glass. Garnish with a lime wedge.

Instead of using simple syrup, we could use boiled down cane juice, and replace a Cuban rum with a rhum agricole from the French islands and we would be left with:

‘Ti Punch

  • 1 bottle – White Rhum Agricole (A cachaca is better than plain white rum, but even white rum will work)
  • 1 bowl – Lime Wedges
  • 1 small pitcher – Cane Syrup (Simple, brown, or unprocessed sugar syrup will work as would some other subtly flavoured syrup like agave. This is not the time for maple syrup. If you are using brown sugar syrup, cut it 50/50 with simple.)
  • 1 bowl – Ice

Place small tumblers out with the above fixings, and let guests mix their own after the tradition chacun prĂ©pere se sprote mort (“each prepares his own death”). The traditional portions would be a dash of the syrup, a wedge of the lime an a generous pour of the booze. Ice is optional.

Of course, you could replace the white unaged rhum agricole with with an aged version to get a Punch Vieux. If you like it bitter, though, what better way then to get some of that good lime oil in with the drink. How do you do that, you may ask. Why not muddle some lime wedges? And while you’re at it, let’s use cachaca instead of something from the Caribbean. And, you know what? I’m not feeling the syrup. If we’re muddling the lime, I think we should be using some plain old syrup to get the abrasiveness, and it’s a bit more rustic. Guess what! We just made a…:

A Caipirinha

A Caipirinha

Caipirinha

  • 1.5-2 oz. – Cachaca (Not having any, I used Cruzan Estate Light)
  • 3-4 – Halved Lime Wedges (about half a lime)
  • 1 Tbsp – Granulated Sugar (a raw sugar is better, but white is fine)

Muddle the sugar with the lime wedges in a tumbler, and then add ice and the rum. Stir briefly to cool and garnish with a lime wedge.

What? You want to muddle some mint in with your caipirinha? And then you want to add some seltzer water? And use a Cuban rum? Well, you could do all that, and call it a Mojito. Oh, you meant aged Cuban rum. And you’re out of seltzer so you are going with Champagne? That’s silly. But if you insist, I guess we could toss in a dash of Angostura and call it an Old Cuban. What? You want a more Anglophonic rum sour? I thought the grog at the top would have been good enough, but no. There’s just no satisfying some people. I guess that means we should go with:

Rum Punch

  • 3 parts – Gold Rum (Mount Gay Eclipse)
  • 2 parts – Sugar
  • 2 parts – Water
  • 1 part – Lime Juice

Mix the sugar, water and lime juice into a cold syrup. Add in the rum and shake with ice. Serve over ice in a tumbler. Note that the shaking and the ice in the tumbler make up the remaining two parts ice to give you one part sour, two parts sweet, three parts strong, and four parts sweet. Use .5 oz. as one part for a decent cocktail. You may want to back off the sugar a bit though, as I find this a bit on the sweet side.

There. That’s a pretty thorough overview of the rum lime sour. I hope you’re happy. You’re not? There’s just no pleasing some people. How about something from the old school. Maybe something from the Professor? How about a:

Santa Cruz Sour

  • 2 oz. – Santa Cruz Rum (Appleton V/X)
  • 1 oz. – Water
  • 1 Tbsp – Sugar (white, granulated is fine)
  • .25 oz. – Lemon Juice
  • .25 oz. – Lime Juice
  • 1 dash – Triple Sec (Jaquin’s)

Mix the water, sugar, and juices into a syrup. Add the triple sec and rum and shake with ice to combine. Serve either in a cocktail glass or in a tumbler over ice. Garnish with either a lemon or lime wedge.

Is that good? Can I go home now? No? You want more? But you’re bored of the basic sour? Jeesh. What do you want? It’s not like I get anything out of writing this blog. I should just quit and go do work. Oh fine. I’ll give you one more:

The Bajan Legend

  • 2 oz. – Gold Rum (Mount Gay Eclipse)
  • 2 oz. – Falernum

Build in a tumbler with ice and garnish with a lime wedge.

Yup. That’s a sour. After all, what is falernum but a sour mix with more rum and some spices added? Ha! You still want more? But not from the 19th Century? You know the theme is 19th Century cocktails, right? Okay, I’ll give you one inspired by a daiquiri.

The St. Germain Daiquiri by Charles Joy

  • 2 oz. – Bacardi 8
  • .5 oz. – Lime Juice
  • .5 oz. – Orange Juice
  • .5 oz. – Simple Syrup
  • .25 oz. – St. Germain
  • 2 drops – Orange flower water
  • 1 – Egg white

Shake everything but the flower water together without ice to combine. Add ice and shake it to wake it up. Serve in a cocktail glass, top with flower water and garnish with a candied flower.

These are the quantities as best I can guess from the seminar where it was presented. I hope you all are happy. I pulled together a round dozen rum sours, almost all of which date to the 19th Century.

Pictures will slowly migrate up as I finish making and getting pictures of the final few cocktails and get them off my camera.

And so, in the spirit Monday, I offer a toast to those at sea, who drink their grog,
The Scribe