What do sailors and yachtsmen drink? Get some inspiration from our tips and discover how grog came about

What do sailors and yachtsmen drink? Get some inspiration from our tips and discover how grog came about

Working on board a ship used to be hard labour, so what did sailors drink to quench their thirst? And how did grog come about? Get some inspiration with us!

There was always plenty of hard work to be done on a ship, so it's no wonder sailors used to get alcohol rations. A swig of grog in the chilly waters of Europe, a spicy punch in the hot Caribbean. But even nowadays, a sailor who’s built up a thirst after a hard day’s sailing wouldn’t turn down a good drink. 


Let’s delve into history and find out how grog really came about and how strong it should be. But before we do, let's take a look at 8 refreshing cocktails that are perfect for sailors. Liven up your home quarantine, try them out and impress others when partying in summertime. So, what will you need to get yourself prepared?


8 tips for fantastic nautical cocktails 

1. Port and Starboard 

Simple, effective and fast on board a boat. A definite hit in the sailing season. To enjoy a non-alcoholic version or an improved version, see the TIP below.

  • 1 tbsp Grenadine
  • 30 ml menthol liqueur / Creme de Menthe

Pour carefully into a smaller glass so that the green layer is above the red one and don't mix it. 

Port and StarboardPort and Starboard 

For an original take on the Port and Starboard use some coloured ice cubes. Simply pour strawberry juice into one ice cube tray and mint into the other. Chuck the finished cubes into a clear drink such as vodka, white rum or, for a non-alcoholic version for our little sailors, some soda.

2.  Dark 'n' Stormy 

An impressive cocktail that is visually reminiscent of a storm over the ocean, showing the joy and danger that are inseparable at sea.

  • 60 ml dark rum 
  • 90 ml ginger beer
  • 15 ml lime juice

Put ice in a tall glass (highball) and pour over the ginger beer. Add lime juice, and then slowly pour in the dark rum so that it remains on the surface. Decorate with a slice of lime. It can also be made the opposite way round, pouring the ginger beer in at the end.


Dark Dark  

This cocktail originated on the Bermuda Islands, a location with a large number of shipwrecks. It was allegedly invented by an old sailor who associated the dark shade of the drink with storm clouds. This drink should always be mixed using the excellent local rum Gosling's Black Seal. 

3. Tomorrow We Sail

The intoxicating bubbles of this cocktail make its name all too clear. :) 

  • 100 cl sparkling wine or champagne
  • 15 cl port wine
  • 15 cl dark rum
  • 1 tbsp of orange liqueur (e.g. Cointreau, Grand Marnier, Curaçao ...)

Serve in a champagne flute and garnish with a spiral of orange peel.

Tomorrow We SailTomorrow We Sail 

4. Sea Breeze

A light and refreshing drink just like a real sea breeze.

  • 30 cl vodka
  • 90 cl cranberry juice
  • 30 cl grapefruit juice

Serve in a highball glass, with ice and garnish with a slice of lemon. 

Sea BreezeSea Breeze 

5. Maritime Martini

Good old-fashioned Martini with a nautical ingredient for those who like a kick.

  • 6 parts gin
  • 2 parts dry vermouth
  • Olives stuffed with anchovies to finish.

Mix all ingredients with ice. Make sure it’s shaken not stirred. For a nautical kick finish it off with olives stuffed with anchovies.

Maritime MartiniMaritime Martini 

  6. Ocean Mist

This cocktail originated as a tribute to the coast of New England. 

  • 1 part tequila
  • 1 part apricot liqueur
  • 1 part lemon juice
  • Sea salt
  • Egg white

Mix it up in a shaker and pour into a glass. Then pour over some blue curaçao to create a beautiful effect of sea foam: a blue that turns green with crests of white foam.

Ocean MistOcean Mist 

7. Sex with the Captain

A fragrant and juicy cocktail in the colours of the sunset. A must for every captain.

  • 45 cl Captain Morgan® Original spiced rum 
  • 30 cl amaretto liqueur 
  • 30 cl peach schnapps
  • 30 cl cranberry juice
  • 30 cl orange juice
Sex with the CaptainSex with the Captain 

8. Sirocco Mixture 

The sirocco, Croatia's infamous southeast wind, carries all the heat and dryness of the Sahara desert. And as one English writer stated in 1837: “Nothing is more salutary during the sirocco than iced beverages; they revive the spirits, strengthen the body, and assist digestion.” Hence this light yet spicy drink was created, to lubricate the driest of throats. Originally, ice from the Sicily’s Mount Etna was added.

  • 2 lime peel
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 2 lime juice
  • 60 cl cognac
  • 30 cl Maraschina or 15 cl of cherry liqueur 

Coat the rind with sugar and add the juice of the limes. Top up with crushed ice and then add the cognac and cherry liqueur. For a bit of added zest, add some grated nutmeg.


There are many more nautical-themed cocktails and we’re sure you can come up with a few yourselves. Try, for example, a Tropic Storm, an Ocean Breeze, or a Fat Sailor, where you can enjoy the combination of rum and coffee liqueur. Or you can always rely on a good old grog. Do you know who we owe for its creation?

How did grog come about?

There are at least two stories that explain the origin of grog. In both of them, the English Vice Admiral Edward Vernon plays the leading role. Vernon had the nickname "Old Grog" as he often wore a cloak of grogrene: a coarse cloth of silk and wool. And why is he attributed as the inventor this delicious beverage?


From the 17th century onwards, the crew of the Royal Navy were issued a ration of rum. The dose, however, was probably too large as it led to the crew often being drunk and lacking discipline. The first of the legends tells of Old Grog ordering the rum to be diluted with water. And because the British Isles lie in cold waters, it was served hot. Later they added lime juice (which was great at preventing scurvy) and sugar. Thus the famous drink was born. 


The second legend offers a much more pragmatic explanation. When the royal fleet moved to the hot Caribbean, it struggled with the rapid deterioration of fresh water. The water in the wooden barrels rapidly became rancid in the warm humid climate. Therefore the infamous Old Grog Edward Vernon decided to add alcohol to the water to prevent its deterioration. In the Caribbean, rum is cheap and affordable, so it was a clear choice. So, as a result, grog was originally one part rum and one part water.



Today grog is known all over the world and it no longer has to be made from actual rum.

And what do the classics say about grog?

“Grog must be so strong that when someone falls into the sea, they can swim across the whole of the English Channel. After a weak grog you’d drown like a puppy.” Jaroslav Hašek, Czech satirist and writer.

Cheers and see you soon at sea!

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