Matt Belanger likes to “shoehorn tiki into everything,” as he puts it, which is reflected in the perpetually tropical cocktail menu at Brooklyn’s Donna. Based on tiki baron Don the Beachcomber’s 1941 recipe for Navy Grog, this drink stays true to its maritime origins but lightens the usual three-ounce rum base in favor of a small dose of navy-strength gin and Cocchi Americano to create the sort of spicy, juicy cocktail you’d want to drink while on dry land.
Garnish: grapefruit half-wheel and a cinnamon stick
Combine the Cocchi Americano, gin, lime juice, grapefruit juice, honey syrup, vanilla syrup, and allspice dram into a cocktail shaker.
Add ice and shake briefly.
Strain over crushed ice into a hurricane glass, top with the soda water, and add the garnish.
Honey Syrup: Yields approximately 1½ cups
1 cup honey
½ cup water
Combine the honey and water in a saucepan over very low heat. Stir until the honey is dissolved. Remove from the heat and let sit for at least 30 minutes. Bottle and store in the refrigerator for up to one month.
Vanilla Syrup: Yields Approximately 1¼ cups
1 cup sugar
1 cup water
1 vanilla bean
Combine the sugar and water in a saucepan. Split open the vanilla bean with a small knife and scrape the contents into the pan; add the bean pod. Turn the heat on low and stir until the sugar is dissolved. Remove from the heat and let sit for at least 30 minutes. Strain, bottle, and store in the refrigerator for up to one month.