When you have a great rum, you have a lot…
The Army Navy is a classic gin cocktail made with lemon, orgeat and angostura bitters. We had a good one a few weeks back at the Normandie Club in Koreatown a few weeks back, but as orgeat becomes more popular even at non-tiki bars, you’ll start to see this drink pop up a bit more often. When we hear Navy in a drink name, however, we can’t help but think of Navy Grog. Inspired, we decided to merge the two cocktails into an Army Navy Grog.
Navy Grog is made with a blend of three rums, grapefruit, lime and honey. While the names of the cocktails cross over, there isn’t much crossover between ingredients. This meant that we went through a few rounds of experimentation before hitting on a combination we liked. We ended up using two rums – demerara rum (Hamilton) and dark Jamaican rum (Meyer’s) – and a London dry gin. The brightness of the juniper in the gin gave the blend a spirits a surprisingly refreshing feel, but didn’t mute any of the fruity molasses notes from the rums. We used Tanqueray, which has a very clean flavor profile and a distinctive flavor. Though it only uses four botanicals, it’s crisp and complex enough to make a big impact here. It’s not the only gin that will work well, but go for something similar if you don’t plan to use it.
Once we had the spirit blend in place, we added lemon and orgeat from the Army Navy to the lime and honey of the Navy Grog. The result was a cocktail that was exceptionally balanced in spite of its unusual spirit combination, with clear notes of spice (from the gin and bitters), sweetness (from the orgeat and honey), funky fruit and molasses (from the rums) and tart citrus. We recommend going with Giffard orgeat in this case, as it has a distinctive orange flower note that really comes through well here. That said, feel free to play around because this hybrid cocktail is easy to drink and sure to be a hit no matter how you mix it up.
Army Navy Grog
1 oz London dry gin
1 oz demerara rum
1 oz dark Jamaican rum
3/4 oz lemon juice
3/4 oz lime juice
3/4 oz honey syrup
3/4 oz Orgeat (recommend Giffard)
3 dashes Angostura bitters
Combine all ingredients in a cocktail shaker and shake vigorously until well-chilled. Strain into a large rocks glass filled with crushed ice. Garnish with a lemon twist.