Navy Grog – Donn Beach’s Classic Iconic Tiki Cocktail

Navy Grog Donn Beach
Navy Grog Donn Beach

Donn Beach Navy Grog Recipe Vs Victor Bergeron’s Recipe.

Donn Beach and Victor Bergeron’s Navy Grog recipes are similar and practically the same drink. The only difference between the two recipes is that Donn Beach uses honey instead of allspice dram and has an ounce of soda water added. The Biggest difference is the ice. Donn Beach’s recipe calls for a shaved ice cone around the straw. Victor Bergeron’s recipe call for shaking the cocktail with shaved or crushed ice and then pouring the entire contents of the shaker, ice and all, into the glass.

Shaken With Shaved Ice Vs Ice Cone.

While both cocktails are shaken with ice, the Trader Vic version does a dirty pour and includes the ice, while the Donn Beach version strains out the shaken ice and uses an ice cone in the glass. Keep in mind the ice cone is only used in Donn Beach’s navy grog cocktail. No other cocktail uses it, so I wouldn’t spend any money on a dedicated ice cone maker. The navy grog wasn’t the only tiki cocktail to use ice uniquely. Fun decorative ice was regularly used in the classic tiki scene—ice cones, ice caves, dirty pours, ice frill, etc. I think the trader Vic dirty pour is more practical and makes more sense, but the ice cone does have a following.

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Navy Grog – Donn Beach Recipe

0 from 0 votes Only logged in users can rate recipes
Course: DrinksCuisine: American
Servings

1

servings
Calories

296

kcal
ABV

21%

Total time

3

minutes

Make A Classic Navy Grog Cocktail

Ingredients

  • 3/4 oz Lime Juice

  • 3/4 oz Grapefruit Juice

  • 3/4 oz Honey Syrup

  • 1 oz White Rum

  • 1 oz Black Rum

  • 1 oz Aged Rum

  • 1 oz Soda Water

Directions

  • Combine all ingredients into a shaker with ice.
  • Vigorously shake till the shaker is ice cold and frosted.
  • Strain into a lowball glass with a decorative ice cone and straw.

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If you have ever struggled with a recipe or wonder why yours are not turning out like they do at the bar then check out my simple step-by-step videos. I will walk you through how to expertly build each drink so you get consistently great results.

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Pearl Diver – A Fantastic Donn Beach Tiki Cocktail

Pearl Diver
Pearl Diver

What Does The Pearl Diver Taste Like?

The Pearl Diver is a unique cocktail. Even in the tiki world, its inclusion of Creamed spiced honey butter is unusual. The Gardenia mix adds a creamy texture and hot buttered rum flavor to a tropical drink. I have consistently found that people who don’t like hot buttered rum also don’t like this. I have also noticed that people who want hot buttered rum also like this. It tastes like a citrusy cold buttered rum, and I love it.

Don the Beachcomber’s Forgotten Recipes.

Immediately after the 21st amendment had repealed prohibition, Donn Beach opened Don the Beachcomber in Hollywood, California. Donn single-handedly created the first Tiki bar and, with it, tiki culture. But like most innovators, Donn was worried about others copying his Hollywood-style Polynesian-themed bar and profiting off his ideas. Donn would show up a few hours before the bar opened, mix large batches of his spice mixes and mixers, and give them nondescriptive labels like Donn’s spice mix #1, #2, #3, or Donn’s Zombie Mix, Grog Mix, Gardenia mix. This was all done to hide the recipes. Donn never told the other bartenders or published a recipe, and while he did open other bars, his recipes never got out. Thus Donn’s original recipes died with him in 1989. So keep that in mind anytime you see a Don the Beachcomber cocktail; it is never an original recipe, just the best guess. And some guesses are better than others. Tiki was a lawless free for all for a little over a decade with no continuity between drinks of the same name. There is still a lot of that today. How many Mai Tai recipes have you seen even though we know the original canon recipe for it?

In the late 90s, a Tiki cocktail enthusiast named Jeff Berry came along with the intent of preserving the old recipes and Tiki culture and helping revitalize the public interest in it. Jeff interviewed old bartenders of Donn the Beachcombers and set out to recreate Donn’s secret recipes to the best of their knowledge. Gathering whatever information he could and testing recipes against people who remembered what the old drinks tasted like, he is credited with having saved recipes that would otherwise be lost to time. Remember that these are not Donn’s original recipe but Jeff’s best attempts at recreating them and that Jeff Beachbum Berry is probably the closest one to get it right.

What is Gardenia Mix and How to Make It.

The secret Gardenia mix recipe Jeff Berry eventually settled on was:

  • 1 oz Honey
  • 1 oz unsalted butter
  • 1/2 tsp Vanilla Syrup
  • 1 tsp Cinnamon Syrup
  • 1/2 tsp Allspice Dram.

The stuff taste and smells fantastic. Although not everyone has vanilla or cinnamon syrup around, I wrote a recipe that is a bit more accessible. Here is my specific article on gardenia mix and how to make it.

The Most Important Part Of This Cocktail.

The most important part of the pearl diver is how you mix it. Butter is mostly milk fat and protein, and it does not stay emulsified in water. So you have two options. 1). Use a blender and turn it into a slushy. 2). Use an emulsifier like gum syrup or something to mix the gardenia mix while making it evenly and it is still warm. If you don’t blend it or use an emulsifier, the butter oddly sits at the top and looks pretty gross.

The first option of using a blender is the more common one. There will still be tiny butter particles, but the blender’s speed helps to mix them evenly, and the slushy ice prevents them from forming together. If slushies are not your style, then try option #2.

The second option is to use an emulsifier while making the gardenia mix while it is still warm. You’re not fighting the fat when the cocktail is cold. I’m not the most versed in that method but guides online talk about how to do it that way.

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Pearl Diver – Classic Don the Beachcomber Cocktail Recipe

5 from 1 vote Only logged in users can rate recipes
Course: DrinksCuisine: American
Servings

1

servings
Calories

456

kcal
ABV

19%

Total time

3

minutes

Learn how to make the Pearl Diver.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 oz Lime Juice

  • 1 oz Orange Juice

  • 1/2 oz Simple Syrup

  • 1 oz Gardenia Mix

  • 1/3 oz Falernum

  • 1.5 oz Gold Rum

  • 1 oz Anejo Rum

Directions

  • Combine all ingredients into a blender with a single scoop of ice cubes.
  • Blend on low for 10 seconds or till the ice is mostly pulverized.
  • Now blend on high for 5-10 seconds to completely crush the ice and turn the drink into a slushy texture.
  • Pour into serving glass. Garnish with an orchid flower.

Recipe Video

Notes


Make Cocktails Like A Pro

If you have ever struggled with a recipe or wonder why yours are not turning out like they do at the bar then check out my simple step-by-step videos. I will walk you through how to expertly build each drink so you get consistently great results.

  • Free and simple step by step videos.
  • Tips and tricks from years of experience.
  • Historically accurate and balanced recipes.


Navy Grog – Victor Bergeron’s Classic Tiki Cocktail

Navy Grog | Victor Bergeron Recipe
Navy Grog | Victor Bergeron Recipe

Victor Bergeron’s Navy Grog Recipe Vs Donn Beach’s Recipe.

Donn Beach and Victor Bergeron’s Navy Grog recipes are similar and practically the same drink. The only difference between the two recipes is that Donn Beach uses honey instead of allspice dram and has an ounce of soda water added. The Biggest difference is the ice. Donn Beach’s recipe calls for a shaved ice cone around the straw. Victor Bergeron’s recipe call for shaking the cocktail with shaved or crushed ice and then pouring the entire contents of the shaker, ice and all, into the glass.

If you pick up Trader Vic’s cocktail book, the recipe will call for 3 ounces of Vic’s Navy Grog Mix. This was to sell his Trader Vic branded mixers that no longer exist. Still, fortunately for us, Victor Bergeron never really kept his Navy Grog mix recipe a secret. Vic’s Navy Grog was equal parts lime juice, grapefruit juice, and Allspice Dram. Knowing that and the rest of the recipe printed in the book, we can perfectly recreate the Trader Vic’s Navy Grog cocktail.

The Most Important Ingredient.

The allspice dram sets the Victor Bergeron version apart from the Donn Beach recipe, and I feel this is the better version. While the honey in Donn’s adds more sweetness, the allspice liqueur adds nice cinnamon and clove spice. So try the two. They are nearly identical and see which one you prefer.

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Download The Official Vintage American Cocktails App

Discover what classic cocktails you can make right now with the ingredients you have. Check out the Vintage American Cocktail app.

Navy Grog – Victor Bergeron’s Recipe

0 from 0 votes Only logged in users can rate recipes
Course: DrinksCuisine: American
Servings

1

servings
Calories

339

kcal
ABV

25%

Total time

3

minutes

Learn how to make the Navy Grog.

Ingredients

  • 1 oz Lime Juice

  • 1 oz Grapefruit Juice

  • 1 oz Allspice Dram

  • 1 oz White Rum

  • 1 oz Black Rum

  • 1 oz Anejo Rum

Directions

  • Combine all ingredients into a shaker.
  • Add a scoop of shaved ice. If you do not have shaved ice then crushed ice will do.
  • Vigorously shake till the shaker is ice cold and frosted.
  • Pour the whole shaker into the serving glass. Ice and all.

Notes


Make Cocktails Like A Pro

If you have ever struggled with a recipe or wonder why yours are not turning out like they do at the bar then check out my simple step-by-step videos. I will walk you through how to expertly build each drink so you get consistently great results.

  • Free and simple step by step videos.
  • Tips and tricks from years of experience.
  • Historically accurate and balanced recipes.