Cocktail & Other Recipes By Spirit Rum Cocktails

Ancient Mariner

Ancient Mariner cocktail
Image:

Liquor.com / Tim Nusog

Whether or not a sailor’s life is for you, this spiced Tiki drink and Navy Grog riff from Jeff “Beachbum” Berry might be your new tropical favorite. 

Despite his nickname, Berry is no bum: The owner of New Orleans restaurant Latitude 29 has been documenting Tiki culture for more than 30 years. The story of Tiki begins much earlier: Ernest “Donn Beach” Gantt opened his Hollywood bar Don the Beachcomber in 1934, inspired by his travels in the South Pacific. Victor “Trader Vic” Bergeron followed soon after, imitating Beach’s signature style at his eponymous bar and popularizing it even more with drinks such as the Mai Tai. From that time until the dawn of the Disco era, Tiki culture was alive and well. But once the godfathers of Tiki passed away, many of their secrecy-shrouded recipes were also lost.

Berry sought to preserve Tiki’s rum-soaked history by tracking down former bartenders and collecting old texts. In his first book, Beachbum Berry’s Grog Log, published in 1998, he shared many of the recipes he had gathered over the years, which are still made according to the same specs at bars around the world today. In fact, we can thank Berry for recording Donn Beach classics including the Zombie and the Pearl Diver

Over the years, Berry has also put his own spin on Tiki-canon cocktails. He created the Ancient Mariner in 1994 as a riff on Trader Vic’s version of the Navy Grog, which itself was a riff on a Donn Beach classic. Berry wanted to replicate the flavors of his favorite Trader Vic drink, but the sales pamphlet he found in his research, “Passport to Trader Vic’s Exotic Cocktails,” wasn’t of much help: It listed such vague ingredients as “Trader Vic’s Navy Grog Rum” and “Trader Vic’s Navy Grog Mix.” As Berry writes in his 2010 book, Beachbum Berry: Remixed, “We pretty much had to start from scratch.” 

The results are well worth the extra work. Like Donn Beach’s version of the Navy Grog, the Ancient Mariner includes an irresistible blend of rums and grapefruit and lime juices. Notably, it also calls for allspice dram, which lends aromatic baking-spice notes.

Try it yourself and toast to the hard-won efforts of Berry and his team. “We called it the Ancient Mariner because by the time we finished with it, that’s how old we felt,” he writes.

Ingredients

  • 1 ounce demerara rum

  • 1 ounce blackstrap rum

  • 1/4 ounce allspice dram

  • 3/4 ounce lime juice, freshly squeezed

  • 1/2 ounce white grapefruit juice, freshly squeezed

  • 1/2 ounce simple syrup

  • Garnish: lime wedge

  • Garnish: mint sprig

Steps

  1. Add all ingredients into a shaker with ice and shake until well-chilled.

  2. Strain into a double rocks glass over crushed or pebble ice.

  3. Garnish with a lime wedge and a mint sprig.