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Trader Vic's Grog Concentrate-Aye or Nay?

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Just received and email from TV's offering the Grog concentrate. Disclaimer says this is not Navy Grog concentrate. What's the difference? What drinks use the Grog concentrate? Recipe for the Tiki Puka Puka (which is one of my favorites) included with purchase. I always thought the Tiki Puka Puka used the Navy Grog concentrate . . . for that matter I didn't know there were two Grog concentrates . . .

Buy? Avoid? What's the collective wisdom/advice?

I got the same email.
The disclaimer says it's not "Navy Grog Mix".
They use the "concentrate" to make those drinks at their restaraunts.


Here's the full text from the TV website:

Previously unavailable to the public. Available for a limited time. Trader Vic's Grog Concentrate. Our Signature Grog Concentrate is the Key ingredient in some of your favorite Trader Vic's Cocktail. Now you can make the Famous Navy Grog, or the sought after Tiki Puka Puka. DISCLAIMER PLEASE READ! THIS IS NOT NAVY GROG MIX, IT IS A GROG CONCENTRATE USED IN OUR RESTAURANTS. EACH ORDER WILL COME WITH A RECIPE FOR A TIKI PUKU PUKU AND NAVI GROG. THIS IS A CONCENTRATE ONLY 1/4 OZ. IS NEEDED PER DRINK. LIMITED TIME ONLY, NO RETURNS.

$30.00 for a three pack.

edit: out of stock, again. Link no longer works

[ Edited by: Hakalugi 2013-03-07 08:30 ]

[ Edited by: Hakalugi 2013-04-02 16:15 ]

Absolutely get it! This is the one truly secret ingredient in two great Trader Vic drinks, the Tiki Puka Puka and Navy Grog. I've had the rare opportunity to purchase this in the past. I stock up but always regret I didn't buy more because it really isn't normally available. With the Grog Concentrate you can make Tiki Puka Pukas identical or better than what is served in the restaurant. Don't buy them all though because I need to get some more! Now you need to find a source of gardinias to float in the drink. Remember, taste is 70%-75% smell.

[ Edited by: TropicDrinkBoy 2013-02-14 23:27 ]


Get 'em - the public can't usually buy them at all, so get them while you can.

A truly excellent Navy Grog isn't an easy drink to make & this Trader Vic's concentrate makes it WAY easier!!

So is this Trader Vic's "Allspice dram" syrup mix?
It looks like it.

In essence yes but I've yet to find a recipe to successfully recreate it from allspice liquor. It is unique. There was a navy grog mix that they used to sell at retail but it was very different. Three oz. of it was required to make a Tiki Puka Puka instead of 1/4 to 1/3 oz. and the result was different. If you haven't guessed yet the Tiki Puka Puka is one of my favorite Trader Vic drinks and I have had it many times at their restaurants. I hold it in high esteem, right up there with the 1934 Zombie. When made using the recipe in the Trader's 1972 bartenders guide it has nearly the same as 4 oz. of 80 proof so a limit of two please!

[ Edited by: TropicDrinkBoy 2013-02-15 06:35 ]

$30 is steep - I assume the unopened product has quite a shelf life??? Now that Chicago's TV is gone, this would be as close as I'd get. What rum(s) would pair up with this? 80 proof Demerara?


Just placed my order. I doubt shelf life will be a problem. Most products of this nature have enough preservatives and stabilizers to keep them good for quite a long while.

I just placed my order for the 3-pack. $10. per bottle and $17.+ shipping - a little steep in my opinion as well but still, worth a try.
I wonder if they'll do the same for their Mai Tai concentrate?

Whoa, no way - I have a few bottles of this stuff (got a couple at the restaurant, and a couple more on eBay). Shelf life is not a concern... I've been using my open bottle for 3-4 years now. Get it while you can, tiki peeps - you won't be disappointed.

I was hoping they were also selling their Mai Tai concentrate (not the commercially available version) but nope...


So if I'm doing the math correctly (and I was an English major so all bets are off), three 1 liter bottles would give you enough mix for more than 405 cocktails. And at $30 (plus $13 s/h) that's about 10 cents a drink (minus rum costs).

Don't forget:

  • grapefruit juice
  • lemon juice
  • lime juice
  • rock candy syrup

The Rum Grog concentrate is only a syrup, not a complete mixer.

OK,just pulled the trigger! Any other drink suggestions for using this stuff?

Trad'r Bill, what are the ingredients listed & is it full of
High Fructose Corn Syrup like other TV mixers?


I went ahead and pulled the trigger too, now my mouth is watering! Me no can wait! Unfortunately the drive to Emeryville is much shorter than the drive back :) or I'd be at TV's now!

Here is what martiki (a.k.a. Martin Cate of Smuggler's Cove fame) had to say about the Grog Concentrate and the restaurant recipe for the Navy Grog in this post from 2005. He was a bartender at Trader Vic's at that time:

"The restaurant recipe is juice from 1/2 lime, 3/4 oz grapefruit, dash simple syrup, 1/4-1/3 oz rum grog concentrate, and then the rum. This is where some of the locations differ. Emeryville uses 1 oz silver, 1 oz gold, 1 oz dark- all Trader Vic's brand. SF uses 1 oz gold, 1 oz dark and 1/2-3/4 oz Lemon Hart 151. The rum grog concentrate is MUCH different than the retail version. TV is not supposed to sell it, so I suggest you head to Atlanta- that's quite a coup."


The shipping is not cheap but surely it is cheaper than a trip to Atlanta!

Unfortunately he didn't reveal the restaurant recipe for the Tiki Puka Puka which must differ slightly from the one published in Trader Vic's 1972 Bartender's Guide. That one calls for 3 oz. of the retail Navy Grog mix but when using the Grog Concentrate only around 1/3 oz. is required. I've never seen them make up the 2 2/3 oz. difference with charged water. Who knows, maybe someday the restaurant recipe will show up on Tiki Central now that the Grog Concentrate will be stocked in so many home bars.

[ Edited by: TropicDrinkBoy 2013-02-15 19:05 ]

good deal
u can buy it in sarasota tv sports place ..

Thanks for the info TDB!

On 2013-02-15 13:41, Atomic Tiki Punk wrote:
Trad'r Bill, what are the ingredients listed & is it full of
High Fructose Corn Syrup like other TV mixers?


Listed ingredients: HFCS, water, natural flavors

FYI, each Trader Vic's seems to make their drinks slightly differently... I've seen many variations on the contemporary Mai Tai made in different Vic's, and I know TV Emeryville makes Navy Grogs different than Martin did back in SF. We'll see which recipe TV sends to us: "EACH ORDER WILL COME WITH A RECIPE FOR A TIKI PUKU PUKU AND NAVI GROG" (nice spelling btw) :)

Emeryville Navy Grog:
1/4 lime (squeezed)
3/4 oz Grapefruit juice
1/2 oz Lemon juice
1/4 oz rock candy syrup
1/4 oz rum grog concentrate
1 oz each Light, Gold and Dark TV Rum

-Trad'r Bill

Thanks Bill!


They would sell this stuff to me at TV ATL when I asked. Makes an easy Navy Grog. They gave me their recipe and I think from memory it was

3/4 concentrate
2 oz dark rum
splash of grapefruit and syrup
And maybe lime...

They also use a sugar stirrer so it gets sweeter as it goes.


Just ordered. And I've never even HAD a Navy Grog, so I hope it's good.

I have a feeling this may become JUST what I need ... another expensive habit.

Trad'r Bill and Swanky (and martiki),

Thanks for the Trader Vic's restaurant Navy Grog recipe variations. I'm looking forward to doing a taste test of all the recipes once I get my shipment with the "official" recipe.

Got the box today...

And here are the enclosed recipe's...

Thanks again Bill for the heads up!

U snooze u lose :(. I waited til verdicts were in before I bit. TV products have bitten me in the past. Still working on getting rid of Spiced Rum... Looks like the concentrate sold out on lone. Anyone know if any of the locations are selling it? Oh well, it is not like I can't mix drinks from scratch. I thought if the mix was secent, then my brother could have quality Navy Grogs when he travels with little fuss. :drink:

Wow, I can't believe they sold out so quickly. I just got my shipment today also. It's interesting that the label says it is 100 calories per ounce and since a serving is really only 1/4 to 1/3 of an ounce it's really only 25 to 33 calories of grog concentrate per drink. So you dieters, don't let that thick syrup consistency put you off!

I think martiki's Navy Grog recipe above is closest to the recipe that was supplied with the concentrate. I'll compare them all though. Tonight I'm comparing/contrasting five of my white rums (I constantly have to refresh my memory, I hope it isn't the alcohol!) so my Navy Grog investigation will have to wait until this weekend.

When using the Grog Concentrate I recommend measuring the concentrate early so the other measured ingredients help to wash the extremely thick grog concentrate goodness in your jigger or measuring cup into your drink. When making the Tiki Puka Puka be careful to not put too much grenadine into the drink. Do a Bing or Google image search for Tiki Puka Puka to see examples of properly and improperly (too red from the grenadine) constructed drinks. A properly constructed Tiki Puka Puka should have an amber color, not red! Red ones will likely be too sweet as the grenadine will overwhelm the drink. Regarding the amount of Grog Concentrate in a Tiki Puka Puka, I tend to go a little heavy with 1/3 oz. or so. If you use Lemon Hart 151 and quality white and dark rums it won't overwhelm the drink and all will be well. So if you don't like the drink with 1/4 oz. of concentrate, add a little more next time and I bet it will agree with you.

Using the retail Navy Grog mix, which also doesn't seem to be available anymore, here are the recipes that were published in Trader Vic's 1972 Bartender's Guide for the Navy Grog and the Tiki Puka Puka. A while back I compared Tiki Puka Pukas made with the retail grog mix to the concentrate and the grog concentrate version is much superior.

Navy Grog

  • 1 lime
  • 3 oz. Trader Vic Navy Grog mix
  • 1 oz. light Puerto Rican rum
  • 1 oz. dark Jamaica rum
  • 1 oz. 86-proof Demerara rum

Tiki Puka Puka

  • 1 oz. orange juice
  • 3 oz. Trader Vic Navy Grog mix
  • 1 dash grenadine
  • 1 oz. light Puerto Rican rum
  • 1 oz. Trader Vic 8-year Jamaica rum
  • 1 oz. 151-proof Demerara rum
  • 1 gardenia sprinkled with orange flower water

So glad I have an additional 400 of these drinks in my future!

Pro tip: I usually make a small bottle of 50/50 Rum Grog concentrate and Rock Candy syrup... that way I don't have to struggle with the micro measuring of the 1/4 oz. pours of each. I can just pour one 1/2 oz measure.


DAMMIT! I missed it. That's what I get for waiting. Hopefully it'll come back in stock.

. . . ahhhhhhhhhhhhhh . . .

. . . this stuff is freaking amazing . . . I don't care what's in it . . .

. . . somebody please check on me in a few weeks . . . :D :drink: :tiki:

Aloha and okole maluna!

The Blue Kahuna

[ Edited by: The Blue Kahuna 2013-02-21 15:48 ]

. . . and the next night . . .

it is actually a little darker than this photo suggests . . .

Okole maluna!

You know, I was on the fence about buying the concentrate, and due to procrastination the choice was made for me. Oh well.

On the other hand, using other threads in Tiki Drinks and Food, I've been able to come up with a spice syrup (sans HFCS) that when combined with fresh lime and grapefruit juice, comes really close to the Trader Vic's Navy Grog taste (and thereby the Tiki Puka Puka taste). So that'll help temper any disappointment I may have felt.

Thanks for the reports from those that obtained the concentrate!


So here is what is even more interesting about this to me. Last night I made three Navy Grogs using different rums as follows:

Cruzan Silver, Cruzan Gold, Meyers Dark
Trader Vics Silver, Trader Vics Gold, Meyers (this is what they used last time I was in Emeryville)
Plantation 5 year, Appleton 12, Lemon Hart 80

I think the best tasting one was the one that used the Trader Vic's rums . . . go figure!

I was also thinking (hey I was in the process of having 3 Navy Grogs, what else can you do but think) that I too balked at first over the $42 total price tag for the concentrate BUT why is it I have no problem plunking down $40 for three Navy Grogs (including tip) at Trader Vic's? How could 430 cocktails at less than a $1 each be a bad deal (especially the way I drink!?

Why, because I hadn't had a Navy Grog prior to or during the contemplation of purchasing said concentrate . . . :D

[ Edited by: The Blue Kahuna 2013-02-23 04:41 ]

I like a fine orange juice concentrate myself but it was fun reading about yours from Trader Vic's. Wendy

You are too funny Wendy! I'm still a bit speechless seeing you with a glass of champagne at the crawl :)

. . . on another note, I think I have perfected the drink for my taste, as follows:

juice of 1/2 lime (I seem to have some pretty strong limes right now, they have a bite)
3/8 oz of TV Grog concentrate
5/8 oz of simple syrup (because I don't have nor have I made TV Rock Candy [double-strength] Syrup)
1 oz TV Silver
1 oz TV Gold
1 oz Whaler's Dark
crushed ice
rock candy swizzle stick

You know what to do . . . cheap rum seems to be the call for this drink, no matter how much I try to dress it up with top shelf stuff, this tastes the best to me for this cocktail . . . now time to settle in for the Oscars . . .

. . . hmmmmmmm . . . that was quick . . . time for another :D

I had a Navy Grog at Trader Vic's Friday night to calibrate my palate. They used 1 oz. of Trader Vic's Silver, Gold and Dark rum. I've never ever seen them use Meyers for their dark rum and I highly doubt they've ever done that. I think the San Francisco recipe was more accurate in using 0.6 oz. Lemon Hart 151 since that approximates the 1 oz. of standard proof Lemon Hart the Trader probably had in mind when he specified 1 oz. of demerara rhum in his 1972 bartender's guide.

Blue Kahuna, you mentioned that you have Trader Vic's Silver and Gold. Where did you buy it? I've only seen the dark at retail (Bevmo). Not that they are anything special. Their amber rum might be worth getting (but not sold at retail) since it is funky like an un-aged Martinique amber rhum (i.e. Saint James Royal Amber Rhum). That's what they used for their special Mai Tai at my dear departed Palo Alto Trader Vic's.

Today I tried the recipe included with the grog concentrate (the official recipe), Trader Bill's recipe (which used 1/2 oz. lemon juice and 1/4 oz. lime juice) and Martiki's recipe (as served at Trader Vic's San Francisco around 2005). That's 9 oz. of 80 proof so I did my due diligence. In each case I used 1 oz. of Eldorado Silver, 1 oz. of Coruba, and 1 oz. of Lemon Hart 80 proof (for the demerara), top shelf rums. Trader Bill's recipe was definitely sweeter, at least to begin with. Martiki's was maybe the best balance between sweet and sour as the recipe supplied with the concentrate was a little sour heavy with 1 oz. of lime juice (1 lime). I must say the grapefruit juice does add an essential flavor component to the drink as I was making it with the Grog Concentrate using the 1972 bartender's guide recipe, which referenced the retail Navy Grog mix and didn't mention grapefruit juice.

Blue Kahuna, I don't know if I have it in me to try your optimized recipe tonight but thanks for sharing the fruits of your labor.

The Navy Grog served on Friday was maybe a little heavy on the Grog Concentrate, probably since they knew I love the Tiki Puka Puka! But in any event, all of them are great drinks and really can't be made without the Grog Concentrate. Thank you Trader! Yum!

On 2013-02-22 19:54, heylownine wrote:
You know, I was on the fence about buying the concentrate, and due to procrastination the choice was made for me. Oh well.

On the other hand, using other threads in Tiki Drinks and Food, I've been able to come up with a spice syrup (sans HFCS) that when combined with fresh lime and grapefruit juice, comes really close to the Trader Vic's Navy Grog taste (and thereby the Tiki Puka Puka taste). So that'll help temper any disappointment I may have felt.

Thanks for the reports from those that obtained the concentrate!


I missed the grog concentrate..but most likely they didn`t ship outta the states anyway...

Kevin, do you have a recipe for your spice syrup to share?


[ Edited by: Little fragrant Tiare 2013-02-25 06:57 ]


Heylowine, if possible I would be interested in your Navy Grog mix recipe also.

I've bought several bottles of TV rums on special at local grocery stores, 8.99 per bottle. Last time I was at Emeryville and sitting at the bar for an afternoon session was about a year ago (back since then but always in the dining room) and the bartender used Meyer's Dark, maybe they were out of the TV Dark.

More recently, I was in the store looking for TV's Rock Candy Syrup and Grenadine (because I wanted to duplicate the Tiki Puka Puka exactly) and couldn't find those items, but did stumble across a closeout of Cruzan Aged Rum Gold and Silver for 6.99 per bottle, bought four of each!

Yesterday, I had sweeter limes or rather less tart/astringent and backed down the Grog Concentrate and Simple syrup to maximum satisfaction. Also used Whalers Dark and liked it better than the Meyers.

Guess the fun is in the 'xperiment'n, but I guess you know that! Huki Lau!

Ordered mine the day before they sold out. Should get it tomorrow.

Anyone else curious as to why they sold this stuff? The commercially available Navy Grog mix is no longer being produced. Is it to throw a bone to the hardcore tikiphiles, or is something else going on? I wonder...

Now if only they'd sell the Mai Tai concentrate! True, I can make a better Mai Tai from scratch, but it would be fun to have the restaurant version on hand now that I'm not within driving distance of a TV.

[ Edited by: DavidAfshar 2013-02-25 18:31 ]

My guess is that TVs had a bunch of concentrate that they needed to move quickly, but who knows.

I noticed they changed the label since I last acquired a bottle. Here's one of my old generic-looking labels:

...and here's some really old Navy Grog fixins:

-Trad'r Bill

Great photos Trad'r Bill, thanks for sharing!

I received my shipment of 3 bottles a few days ago. I've made both recipes that came with them. The flavor profile of the syrup concentrate is that of allspice or pimento dram. Just for the sake of comparason, I made both drinks again substituting Berry Hill allspice liqueur (I have St. Elizabeth's as well, but the Berry Hill was open) for the syrup concentrate. There is a subtle, but noticable difference - the Berry Hill added a richer, more complex attitude to both drinks with the allspice flavor in perfect harmony.
That being said, 3 750ml bottles of the TV Concentrate is $30 - ONE bottle of St. Elizabeth's is the same . . . about $30. The advantage, as far as price goes: TV Concentrate.

On the next round I'm going to tinker with the TV Concentrate's measurement, increasing it slightly past the 1/4 oz mark to see if I can come closer to tshe flavor of the allspice liquer.

For the Navy Grog I used Don Q Crystal, Meyers Dark and Pussers. For the Tiki Puka Puka, I used the same first two rums and used Lemon Hart 151.

I happen to have Trader Vic's rock candy syrup and grenadine and made a Tiki Puka Puka using the recipe that came with the concentrate. I think it was too heavy on the grenadine and too red instead of amber, at least when using the current version of the TV grenadine. It didn't look or taste much like the many Tiki Puka Pukas I've had in the NorCal Trader Vic's restaurants. Next time I use that recipe I'll up the concentrate to 1/3 oz and reduce the Trader Vic's grenadine to 1/8 oz. I used Lemon Hart 151, El Dorado Silver and Coruba.

My usual Tiki Puka Puka follows the 1972 Bartender's Guide recipe (which lacks the lemon juice, maybe it is in the retail mix specified in that recipe?), except I use 1/3 oz of concentrate instead of 3 oz of retail grog mix and Small Hand Foods high-end grenadine. When mixed in an electric drink mixer with finely crushed ice it makes a fine Tiki Puka Puka that tastes very similar to and as good or better than the Restaurant version. Unfortunately they no longer sprinkle the Orange Flower Water on the gardenia. I find that a liberal dose floated on top of the drink adds an exotic bouquet to a potent drink. I'm going to try applying the Orange Flower water with an atomizer next time.

[ Edited by: TropicDrinkBoy 2013-02-28 09:58 ]

[ Edited by: TropicDrinkBoy 2013-03-02 13:37 ]

I've used Elizabeth's Allspice Liquor before I first obtained the concentrate and found that it too easily dominated the drink and brought other harsh flavors with it. Mixing it with a little honey/water syrup brought it closer in line with the consistency and overall effect of the concentrate. I think if you up the concentrate from 1/4 oz to 1/3 (or even 1/2 oz) you will obtain the pleasant full body flavor of a restaurant style Tiki Puka Puka. Using high end rums will complete the flavor spectrum.

Just got mine, and holy cow.

Easily the happiest I've ever been w/ the purchase of a TV brand mixer. Or any mixer I've purchased in quite a while.

Glad this stuff came in a 3-pack :)

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