GROG!!! Thoughts? Opinions?

My boyfriend and I helped a friend throw a tea party whose theme was “Medicate with Tea” based off of a song of the same title written and performed A Capella by Emilie Autumn.

If you feel inclined, you can listen to the song here:

I’ve digressed.

My boyfriend was placed in charge of making a drink called “grog”- a warm drink that is a mixture of black tea, cognac or brandy, spiced rum, sugar and various spices. I am not the greatest fan of it. I busied myself in the kitchen making cucumber and strawberry sandwiches while enjoying my own pot of English afternoon and accepting shots of whatever miscellaneous liqueur her grandmother giddily brought in the kitchen for me to try. To me it tastes a bit too much like watered down alcohol, which of course was the original purpose.

Historically, on voyages water and alcohol were rationed. On these long voyages water easily went stale so beer was often used to make stale water more palatable. Grog began in 1655 with Vice-Admiral William Penn (founder of Pennsylvania)on a trip to Jamaica. When they were going to refill their stores they found Jamaica was lacking beer, but had rum. Penn began to ration rum. Rum continued to gain popularity with sailors and eventually was added into the “Regulations and Instructions Relating to His Majesty’s Service at Sea.” In order to prevent drunkenness on voyages the dilution of rum with water was mandated and sugar and lemon were added to make the drink more palatable.

The modern day grog that we make is very sweet and smooth and full of wonderful spices like cinnamon and cloves, but I assume much stronger than (or at least I would hope it would have been) in the cups of the men exploring the world.

I think his recipe (currently, he keeps playing with it) involves:
2 cups English afternoon
Cognac or brandy (to taste)
Spiced dark rum (to taste)
2 cinnamon sticks
1 tsp. cloves
1 Tbsp. of Evan Williams apple cider liqueur

Since October, the last few functions we have been to my boyfriend makes the grog, my friend bakes the scones and I’ve prepared the (real) food and the evening consists of my boyfriend running wild back and forth with teapots to refill with the spicy sweet substance until he finally tires and decides “I’m going to get drunk now so no one will ask me to move.”

All of this said: Have you tried grog? If so, do you like it? Do you have a favorite recipe? Do you have random thoughts concerning it?

14 Replies
Josie Jade said

I’ve not heard of this or tried it before but the history behind it is certainly interesting! I love tea and I like liquor (at least I did in my college days!) so this seems like a fun little drink to me. :)

I had not heard of it either until we were asked to make it. The birthday girl and her boyfriend are history majors at one of the local colleges, and my boyfriend is full of random useless information, so when I went “what’s grog?” they all pulled out the chalk on me.

Its been very popular at our functions! The age group of our friends normally ranges from about 23 to 35. Its a nice drink if you want to get warmed up and keeps guests comfortable in the yard during a function despite cold weather. In my experience, the best part is that despite being very strong, it’s difficult to get drunk from. :)

Josie Jade said

Haha, sounds perfect. It would be a very sad day indeed to wake up with a tea hangover!

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Cavocorax said

I’ve had it but I know it as Glogg. ( I first had it at an authentic Scandinavian Christmas feast and have since gone on trying to replicate it. I like it, bug I really love the smell. I let it simmer on low for hours and serve it would not little cups with raisins on the bottom. I use apple juice so it’s not quite so strong, alcohol-wise, then dump in the slices, orange rind, rum, brandy , red wine etc. There are so many variations.

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Cavocorax said

I totally missed doing this last year because I was pregnant. I’m soooooo going to do it this year. :)

I hope you have a happy holidays! After having a little one, I imagine a bit of grog or glogg is well past due! I have only tried it with english afternoon and it simmers for about 20 minutes, although the last batch we added apple liquer and it was a big hit! Normally, our batch I think is about 1 part tea to 1 part liquor and spices combined, so its not too bad. We’re constantly trying to perfect it without turning it into overly spiked cider. I should try and make a non-alcoholic variation for the little ones in my family, (perhaps add in a fermented soda for taste?) But until I do so it’s for the adult table. :P

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After looking at the wikipedia article, it would appear that they are two different drinks, although so similar that I wouldn’t be surprised. Grog is a British drink made by sailors during the colonial period to make stale water palatable with rum whereas glogg is a christmas drink made with wine. It looks absolutely divine and I will definitely be trying it! It sounds as though it would taste much better!

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Nicole said

Have not tried either grog or glogg. I did have a chai tea hot toddy recently, though, which was similar to the recipe you gave. Rum, Tuaca, orange peel, cinnamon stick, whole cloves and a bag of Tazo chai. It was pretty good. It wouldn’t be my choice over plain old hot tea, but it was good.

And the history you gave was very interesting! Thanks!

I’m not the biggest fan of chai+stuff either. Chai is already a very busy tea as is and I feel like alot of times when we make lattes and other mixed drinks with it it distracts from the many nuances that chai tea already possesses. Don’t get me wrong, I occasionally like a little sugar and sometimes even a bit of cream in a chai, but I think it has a more diverse flavor on it’s own.

Nicole said

I think in this, with the chai being a bagged chai, the addition of more cinnamon and cloves probably helped – though not having had Tazo’s chai on its own I can’t say for sure. I am not a fan of chai without sugar and cream, so this was unusual for me to like. :) Also not the biggest fan of the taste of most alcohol, either. I did make this last night for a friend who likes spiced rum and he liked it quite a bit. Next up is the hot buttered chai recipe down below… :)

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Janefan said

Here’s a Hot Buttered Chai recipe I bookmarked recently. Haven’t made it. Not sure I could handle a shot of brandy, 2 tbsp of butter, and 1/4 cup of sugar mixed into 4 oz of tea!!

Woof! That seem’s up the boyfriend’s alley! He looked at it and with a big grin said he’d have to try it out. He’s the chai feind. :P

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I can’t say that I’ve tried it, but I’m tempted to make your recipe and serve it at my Christmas party. It sounds really interesting, and I like the idea of having a slightly weaker alcoholic beverage to offer.

Definitely give it a go and don’t be afraid to play around with it! It is very good at giving the illusion of having consumed much more alcohol than was actually given and getting to enjoy the taste of it without getting drunk. I’m sure that a determined person could manage to get drunk off of it, but I’ve had an entire teapot’s worth to myself and felt no more than a buzz.

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