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Memorial Day Cocktail: River Whiskey Long Grog

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Memorial Day Cocktail: River Whiskey Long Grog

The grog cocktail has a storied history that dates back to the 18th century, originating within the British Royal Navy. The term “grog” is believed to have been coined around 1740 by British Admiral Edward Vernon, who was known as “Old Grog” because of the grogram cloak he often wore. Admiral Vernon mandated that the sailors’ daily rum ration be diluted with water to reduce drunkenness and improve discipline. This mixture was called “grog” in his honor.

Initially, the grog consisted of water and rum, but sailors soon began adding lime or lemon juice to the concoction. This not only improved the taste but also had the crucial benefit of preventing scurvy, a common and deadly disease caused by vitamin C deficiency. The addition of citrus thus marked a significant turning point, intertwining the grog cocktail with naval tradition and crucial maritime health practices.

Sugar and spices were sometimes added as the drink evolved, further enhancing its flavor and appeal. The grog became more than a mere naval ration; it symbolized camaraderie and resilience among sailors. When naval officers and seamen returned to civilian life, they brought the grog, introducing it to a broader audience.

The grog’s influence extended far beyond the British Navy. It spread to the American colonies and the Caribbean, where local variations emerged, often incorporating regional ingredients. This global spread of the grog, with each region adding its unique twist, is a fascinating testament to its enduring popularity and adaptability.

Today, grog is still enjoyed in various forms worldwide, often as a nostalgic nod to its nautical origins. Whether sipped on a warm beach or crafted into a sophisticated modern cocktail, grog remains a testament to its enduring legacy, celebrating a rich history of exploration, adaptation, and the enduring human spirit.

My version of the Grog, The River Whiskey Long Grog, replaces the rum with Whiskey and crushed ice in place of water. These subtle changes create a cooler cocktail perfect for the hot Memorial Day observed in Texas. The Whiskey gives it the color of the muddied Texas River bottoms, with a hint of spice to accompany it.

River Whiskey Long Grog


  • 2 Oz Whiskey
  • 2 Oz Lemmon Juice
  • 1/2 tsp Cinnamon
  • 1 dash Nutmeg


  • Fill long glass with crushed Ice
  • Add 2oz of lemon juice
  • Add 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon
  • Add a dash of nutmeg
  • Pour over the whiskey dissolving the whiskey
  • Mix with bar stick/spoon until the color is homogenous



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