Lift A Mug Of Grog This Winter

In old books and movies, you might discover someone drinking Grog. That’s a real drink with an interesting history.

You can claim this word and create your own Grog, and your friends should be impressed. Plus, it is the ultimate warm drink on a cold night.

The Original Grog

You might not want any grog if you were in the British Navy, starting in the 1700s. Having served the officers, they counted the number of drinking men and then poured that number of ounces from the keg. Then they diluted it, mixing one ounce for every six ounces of water. The Americans took the tradition and converted it into a drink that mixed rye whiskey in a similarly diluted fashion for a similar reason.

The word grog or Grogg means any alcoholic mixed beverage in some cultures. In others, there’s an expectation that the drink will be hot. With this, grog has come to mean a mix of juices and either rum or wine. Here’s what you need to know to make your own grog when the weather is chilly or downright cold.

Mulled Wine Grog

Mulled Wine Grog

The base of this more modern grog is a good red wine, particularly a full-bodied Cabernet Sauvignon.  It is heated on the stove with juice, sugar, and spices. In truth, it just takes 15 minutes to 30 minutes to reach a good mix. However, the mixture can be made in a crockpot. In either case, be careful not to overcook it.

The bottle of wine is poured into an appropriately big pot. To that, you add whole spices. These are recommended rather than ground spices, but it is not a deal-breaker.

Cloves and cinnamon sticks will simmer in the wine, adding character to both the taste and the look of the final drink. Another good whole spice is star anise, which adds even more character as it floats on the top of the mixture. Other possibilities include nutmeg and allspice.

Some stretch the wine further by adding about a cup of (nonalcoholic) apple cider. This also sweetens it. However, you can forego the cider and simply stir in ¾ cup of brown sugar instead.

Definitely include a half cup to a cup of orange juice, preferably fresh-squeezed, and leave the orange slices in the wine.

The mixture should not be brought to a boil, but rather allowed to simmer. You don’t want to boil out the alcohol. Either serve it immediately or turn off the heat and cover it until needed.

Right before you serve it, mix in a few ounces of brandy or a few ounces of rum. One mixologist likes to use brown rum specifically.

Rum Grog

If you are a purist, you can create a similar drink out of rum, juice, hot water, and spices. This drink can also be made with other citrus fruits such as grapefruit, orange, and pineapple. Sweetening it with honey is a natural touch.

Serving Your Grog

Grog is more fun served in mugs, the larger the better.  Glass mugs that can stand the heat will show off the mulled wine’s dark brown color. Most servers will strain the mixture before serving it to guests. Then they will often turn around and add a cinnamon stick or slice of orange.

You and your guests will be glad that this is a modern grog with plenty of flavors and lots of character. And unlike coffee, this hot drink won’t keep you up at night.

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