A desi Rhum Au Grog. Photo: Tara Deshpande Tennebaum
Grog is a drink named after Admiral Vernon of the English Navy, who in 1740 issued Captain’s Order Number 349, that all rum should be diluted with lime juice, brown sugar and water to reduce the incidence of drunkenness and illness among sailors. Disappointed by this austerity, the sailors named the drink after the grogan cloth cape the Admiral wore. This order endured two centuries and was also adopted by the US Navy.
The rum used to make this special drink was not available to the public until 1980 when it appeared on shelves as Pusser’s Navy Rum. Grog is prepared with various liqueurs and spices, and called different names such as Bilo in Fiji and Bumbo in the US, but the beverage is generally prepared with only one kind of liqueur.
The French make a Rhum Au Grog with tea. Here is my desi version. The chai promises to keep you awake until midnight.
Recipe for Masala Chai Grog Au Rhum
Ingredients for 4 cups
5 cups of water
1 good quality black tea bag
4 whole green cardamoms
4 whole cloves
4 teaspoons golden honey or more to taste
4 slices of lime or lemon
4 sticks of cinnamon
4-8 tablespoons dark rum (optional)
1. Combine the first 5 ingredients in a saucepan and cook on high heat.
2. When the water begins to boil, remove the tea bag. Taste for sweetness.
3. Strain into 4 glasses and discard spices.
4. Add a slice of lime, stick of cinnamon and rum if desired to each glass.
5. Stir well and serve hot or chilled.
The author began her career on the English stage and worked as a model and MTV veejay. Post marriage, she moved to the US and attended classes at The French Culinary Institute in New York and Le Cordon Bleu in Paris. The cookbook author now lives in New York and Mumbai, and documents her food stories on her website.