This hybrid of the Negroni and the Navy Grog might sound like an abomination but please reserve you judgement until you’ve tried it. Besides, you trust me, don’t you?
I was about to make myself a pre-prandial cocktail the other evening and was torn between two of my favourites, the Navy Grog and the Negroni. Whilst paralysed with indecision a strange thought wafted into my consciousness: What if you made a Grog using the three ingredients in a Negroni instead of three kinds of rum. What madness – that would just be disgusting! So I did it anyway. And to my astonishment this ludicrous frankencocktail was simply superb – although those with a sweeter tooth might well disagree. The basic premise of equal parts of grapefruit juice, lime juice, honey syrup, gin, Campari and sweet vermouth all blended with ice worked well enough to get my attention but upon further investigation it became clear that a few tweaks were in order. First and foremost was the boosting of the gin component to give it a bit more backbone; I mean you can hardly replace three ounces of rum with one of gin and still allude to things naval. I’d also make a case for using the strongest gin in your arsenal and if that should happen to be a navy strength gin (57%) so much the better*. It also transpires that using a ginger syrup is more harmonious than the usual honey syrup. The process is almost identical to that for a Navy Grog – blend until almost smooth with a small handful of crushed ice (not too much, you’re not trying to make a slushie here) and pour into a double Old Fashioned glass containing an ice cone. Sure, you can skip the cone and just serve with a straw but then you won’t be a proper pirate.
1oz/30ml fresh lime juice.
1oz/30ml white grapefruit juice (bottled is fine if you can’t find fresh white grapefruit).
1oz/30ml ginger syrup.
1.5oz/45ml gin (see text).
1oz/30ml Italian/sweet vermouth (very preferably Punt e Mes).
Blend with ice as described above.
Serve as described above and garnish with an orange or grapefruit twist.
Toast the Tiki Gods who whisper strange and exotic ideas in your ear at moments of indecision.
*Being deficient in the navy strength gin department I used Tanqueray No Ten (47% and some change). Plymouth gin would be another good option with the navy strength version being a veritable double whammy.