This is day one of my #100DaysOfCocktails, and I chose a cocktail that went beyond where most cocktail histories start. In the 18th century, what a person did with a drunken sailor was a serious concern in the British Navy. One of the people to first address that situation was Admiral Edward Vernon, also known as Old Grog. His nickname came from the grogham coat he wore on deck. He also lent his name to Mt. Vernon, being the admiral on the ship General Washington's half brother Lawrence served on. He was a shrewd man, and saw that his sailors did not fare well after their daily tot. A tot was typically a gallon of beer, but could be a pint of wine or a half pint of spirits. The spirit was usually rum, because of their close proximity to the Caribbean and cheapness of rum. After 8 oz. (240 mL) of rum, the sailors did not handle their duties well. It was a problem that the Navy was not happy with.
Admiral Vernon's solution was simple. He split the tot into two portions, one in the morning and one in the evening. The rum was diluted with water in a 1:4 ratio, which was usually befouled in the hold by seawater. To cover the taste of the awful mixture, sugar and citrus juice was added. It would not be known for another decade, but the addition of citrus also fought off scurvy, making his ship the healthiest on the seas. This mixture was named after its inventor, grog, and spread through the rest of the Navy. It is also a mixture that moved forward as an inspiration for cocktails like the daiquiri and the mojito.
1.5 oz./45 mL rum (I used Pusser's British Naval Rum)
1 oz./30 mL lime juice
.5 tsp sugar
4 oz./120 mL water
Glass: Old Fashioned
Garnish: Lime Wedge (optional)
Pour the water and sugar into a mixing tin and stir, dissolving the sugar into the water. The add the rum, lime juice, and ice. Shake well, then strain into an old fashioned glass
If you want to shoot for more authenticity, do what I did and remove the ice. Yes, you will have a room temperature cocktail, but it is still mighty tasty. Ice was not common on 18th century ships. In fact, it really wasn't common until the later 19th century. Unless, of course, you lived where there was ice.