“The punch’s ferocity and keen taste can be savored by those old cavalry troopers who spur their way to victory. To others, it is a poison, with the sting of a scorpion, the bite of a cobra, and the kick of a mule.”
The history of the “Punch Bowl” ceremony has become obscured with time. Legend has it that during the years of the Westward expansion, Cavalry Troopers would share their spirits with one another thereby insuring that all fellow troopers had something to drink.
The alcoholic spirits usually consisted of whatever an individual trooper’s taste was, and that when mixed with other alcohol created a powerful drink known as “GROG”.
The camaraderie developed over the decades, and the various wars and campaigns provided the rare opportunity to share “liberated” spirits with each other. Today’s “GROG” or punch bowl ceremony is a symbolic reflection of this age-old tradition.
Steve Liewer / S&S
Spc. Michael Rogers pours a bottle of tequila — representing his unit’s service during the war of Mexican independence — into a bottle of ceremonial grog during a spur ceremony in Illesheim, Germany..
This Cavalry Grog Recipe and Photos Courtesy of Mr. Dave Gettman, Webmaster for the 2d Cavalry Association Website. Thanks, Dave!
The Regimental punch bowl ceremony is a time honored tradition within the 2d Dragoons. The Regimental punch, a term used to describe the elixir that is somewhat tasty, always potent and able to be served in a variety of capacities (both in liquid and solid form). The ceremony traditionally begins formal Regimental social functions such as Balls, Dining Ins and Dining Outs.
The Regimental punch is a substantive brew of proven medicinal value. It has warmed many a cold trooper on the screen and picket line, and inspired him to feats of glory. It cures what ails you, and in a pinch it is an effective bore cleaner for our cannons, lubricant for our vehicles or propellants for our missiles. True Cavalrymen maintain a base for the punch in their homes at all times.
The punch is prepared using very specific ingredients that represent the many battles and campaigns that lace the rich history of the 2d Dragoons. Each ingredient reminds us of those who have gone before us, and the responsibility we have to continue the superb service to our nation. This service has gone uninterrupted since 1836.
The 2d Stryker Cavalry Regiment was organized as the 2d Regiment of Dragoons in 1836 to fight the Seminole Indians in Florida. The Dragoons wore an eight pointed star as a cap ornament, which now forms the background of the Regimental Crest. The palmetto leaf superimposed on the star symbolizes the five years the Dragoons fought in the Everglades and swamps. Pour one-half bottle of Champagne and Red Wine over dry ice in commemoration of their baptism in battle.
One year after the Seminole Campaign, units of the Regiment added three more streamers to the Dragoon banner for battles against the Cheyennes, Nez Perces and Bannocks in the Southwest Territories. Pour Rye Whiskey over the dry ice to symbolize the taste for this drink which the troopers developed. Add Tequila for the fourteen campaigns fought in Mexico in 1846 and ’47.
Kahlua is added for Captain May’s headlong charge into the blazing Mexican artillery at Resaca de la Palma. “Remember your Regiment, and follow your officers!” called Captain May, and it became the motto of the Regiment.During the Civil War, the 2d Dragoons officially became the 2d U.S. Cavalry Regiment and earned 14 battle streamers. The names remind us of the tremendous sacrifice of life of some of our nation’s toughest battles. These include Fredricksburg, Antitiem, Chancelorsville, Gettysburg, the Wilderness, Manassas, Spotsylvania and Cold Harbor. Sergeant Conrad Schmidt saved the life of his gravely wounded commander, Captain Rodenbough (a Medal of Honor recipient), at the battle of Winchester. At this time add Southern Comfort to the punch.
From 1866 to 1880, the Regiment once again did battle with the Indians in Wyoming, Kansas, Montana, and the Little Big Horn. In memory of this, add the last of the Champagne and Red Wine.In 1898 the “2d Cav” entered the Spanish American War, fighting alongside Roosevelt’s Rough Riders. Now add Bacardi’s Rum to represent the streamer for Santiago.
The Regiment entered World War I and was the only unit to fight as Cavalry — horses and all. For such places as the Argonne and the Marne, add the French wine, Vieux Bordeaux. “Toujours Pret!” (Always Ready) was added to the Crest as well as the Fleur-de-lis.
Renamed the 2d Cavalry Group, Mechanized, the Regiment entered World War II, landing at Normandy in 1944, and led the advance of Patton’s Third Army throughout the remainder of the war. In a daring raid through Russian lines in the closing days of the war, troopers from the Regiment rescued the famous Lipizzaner show horses from Russian forces. For these actions, now pour Napoleon Brandy.
The next campaign liquor put to use in this historical punch, Vodka, represents the Ryukyus battle fought at the close of World War II.
The Regiment was re-designated the 2d Constabulary Regiment and served in the German occupation. In 1948, it became the 2d Armored Cavalry Regiment and began border duty along the longest stretch of the Iron Curtain patrolled by American Forces. Rhine Wine symbolizes the Central Europe campaign, the drive through Germany, and the long Cold War.
The next ingredient to add to your historical punch is that which sustained the fighting spirit and élan of the Regiment during its combat in the deserts of Saudi Arabia, Iraq, and Kuwait — Evian Water.
Flexibility and versatility are trademarks of the Second Dragoons, and the Regiment once again proved it in Haiti. As a member of the Multi-National Task Force, the Regiment had driven more accident-free miles, ate more dust and drank less beer than any other unit in recent memory. To commemorate our Haitian experience and the “two beer limit,” add 2 Sharp’s Non-Alcoholic Beers.
Responding once again to the Nation’s call, the Regiment deployed to the Balkans as part of the Stabilization Force in Bosnia-Herzegovina. In honor of our Balkan peace keepers, a bottle of Slivovitz (Plum Brandy) is added to the mix as the final ingredient.
Now for the hardest job of all — to drink this punch!!!
Please note that no additional ingredients have been added since the 1997 Bosnia deployment. Ingredients for the 2003-04 and 2007-08 deployments to Iraq, and 2010-11 deployment to Afghanistan have yet to be added. I’m working on finding out why
Here is an example of a Grog ceremony from 1-7 Cavalry:
MC: Cavalry Grog has a long tradition of identifying true cavalrymen. The punch’s ferocity and keen taste can be savored by those old cavalry troopers who spur their way to victory. To others, it is a poison, with the sting of a scorpion, the bite of a cobra, and the kick of a mule. Although we are proud warriors of the present, none must forget the past. To honor those cavalrymen who have come before us I add the remains of the grog from years past.
We must first have a base. Our base has been boiled by the heat of battle, drawn by our sabers as we charged our enemies, and cooled by our victories which encompass the world. I now lay the base of cavalry blood.
From 1866 to 1890, the Regiment was instrumental in the campaigns against the Indians. Life on the frontier was difficult and the Indians were a tenacious and resourceful adversary. During this time the Regiment was almost destroyed during its darkest hour at the Battle of the Little Big Horn. From that defeat, and the death of its gallant leader, George Armstrong Custer, the Garryowen arose like a phoenix and continued on to further glory.
HHT: To commemorate the creation of the Regiment in 1866, and in recognition of their glorious deeds on the plains, protecting settlers and maintaining law and order in the West, and in honor of all the gallant cavalrymen on the Indian Wars, I add Sky Blue Vodka to represent the “Big Sky” of their battlefields.
MC: In 1898, the war with Spain was declared and the horse soldiers deployed to Cuba where they remained until 1902. The speed and shock effect of the cavalry brought the war to a swift end. The Apache Troop will now add the next ingredient to the grog.
A TRP: To the Rough Riders of that period who defeated the Spanish and pacified Cuba, we now add Cuban Rum.
MC: The last horse cavalry combat in the western hemisphere was the result of Pancho Villa’s attack on Columbus, New Mexico in 1916. General John Joseph BLACKJACK Pershing launched the Punitive Expedition into Mexico and halted for all time hostile action against our borders. The Blackhawk Troop will add the next ingredient to the grog.
B TRP: In recognition that it was the cavalry that forever secured our dusty desert borders from hostile attacks I now add tequila.
MC: In early 1943, the 7th Cavalry turned in its horses to become an infantry regiment. During WWII as a part of the 1st Cavalry Division, the Regiment’s colors flew into battles across the Pacific from the Admiralty Islands to the Phillipines, securing battle streamers and a place in history for defeating the Japanese. The Regiment provided General MacArthur’s honor guard in Tokyo as a reward for their actions. The Comanche Troop will now add to the grog.
C TRP: For the mounted soldiers who saw service in the Pacific, and to appease the great and treacherous Pacific Ocean, I offer San Miguel Beer from the Phillipines.
MC: On June 25th, 1950 North Korea launched a massive surprise attack against our allies in the South. Garryowen soon found itself in a desperate fight against the communist human waves in the Pusan Perimeter. 1-7 was instrumental in turning the tide of the war and distinguished itself throughout the next three years, including a 116 mile advance into North Korea. Outlaw Troop will now add to the grog.
D TRP: In honor of Garryowen’s tremendous sacrifices in the frozen hell that was Korea, against the massed and savage red hordes that died on regimental blades, we add that potent and devious extract known as Soju.
MC: In the 1960s, the Army needed proven warriors to exploit a new form of warfare, airmobile operations. On November 14, 1965 on Landing Zone X-Ray in the Ia Drang Valley of South Vietnam, the Squadron faced a full three regiments of the North Vietnamese Army. Over a day of heavy fighting, 1-7 destroyed one enemy regiment and significantly mauled two more. It was the first large tactical victory for the US and a validation of Airmobile operations. Garryowen fought with honor throughout Vietnam and returned home in 1972. Bountyhunter will now add to the grog.
E TRP: Representing the gallons of sweat our soldiers gave in the steaming jungles of Vietnam and the liquid with which Garryowen Troopers quenched their thirst, I add warm Budweiser.
MC: In August 1990 Saddam Hussein chose to invade Kuwait. In September Garryowen deployed with the 1st Cavalry Division to Saudi Arabia as part of Desert Shield. As the Division’s reconnaissance element, the Squadron helped teach the dictator the error of his ways as the US Army routed his forces and liberated Kuwait during Operation Desert Storm. Fox Troop will now add to the grog.
F TRP: The Persian Gulf War taught us that with the addition of our tanks, our Bradleys, and our aircraft, we had worthy replacements for our old cavalry steeds. To salute the war, we add sand, and for our new dedicated workhorses, we add their lifeblood, JP-8.
MC: Sir, as commander of 1st Squadron, 7th United States Cavalry, and the Senior Spur Holder, I offer you the first glass of our ceremonial grog.
Squadron Commander: I declare this foul brew is in no way fit for human consumption. There is something missing…
In recognition of those fallen Cavalrymen who hang their hat and drink at Fiddler’s Green, I now add this French Champagne.
That is perfect, this grog is fit for cavalrymen’s consumption.
MC: Commanders, charge your glasses. One individual from each table is invited to come forward to charge their table’s carafe.
Another example given from a New York Guard Unit. Each unit tailors their speech to their respective unit’s history.
The first ingredient of the “Grog” is the base. A sample of last years Spur Dinner Grog is used to create this concoction representing tradition and faithfulness.
We will begin by having our youngest Shave Tail add the base to the grog.
Casimir Pulaski joined George Washington’s army just before the battle of Brandywine. Acting under Washington’s orders without commission Pulaski lead the scouting party that discovered the British flanking movement and the American escape route. He then gathered all available Cavalry to cover the retreat, leading a dashing charge that surprised the British and allowed the American army to escape. As a result of this action Congress rewarded Pulaski with a commission as brigadier general and command of all American Cavalry. The best assessment of Pulaski’s legion came from a British officer who called them simply “the best damned Cavalry the rebels ever had”.
Known as the father of American Cavalry, we celebrate the General Pulaski by adding brandy to the base.
Note that the town of Pulaski New York is named after this legendary Cavalryman.
THE 15th New York ;Volunteer Cavalry was organized at Syracuse, N. Y., in the summer of 1863, under Special Orders Of the State ADJUTANT GENERAL’S OFFICE. Company C was recruited primarily at Syracuse, Canandaigua, Geneva, Palmyra, and Potter, New York. Formed principally in upstate New York, the 15th NYVC was a late addition to the Army of the Potomac forming companies during 1863. As a part of George Armstrong Custer’s division the units fought throughout the Shenandoah Valley under the command of Phil Sheridan. They were present at Five Forks, and Appomattox, and participated in the last cavalry charge of the Civil War.
To honor these distinguished brothers we will add Virginia Corn Whiskey
Troop C was one of two cavalry troops provided by the New York State National Guard for federal service in the Spanish-American War. On August 9th, 1898 the troop was involved in battle on the highway to Coamo. The troop was ordered to flank the Spanish position and cut off their retreat by seizing the baths at Coamo, but the Spanish had already fled and Troop C entered the town. Troop C pursued the retreating Spanish closely, fighting both on horseback and dismounted. That evening the troop encountered a line of trenches in support of a two gun Spanish battery positioned on a hill outside of the town of Aibonito. Troop C dismounted and formed a line of battle, sending the horses to rear and deploying sharpshooters and flankers to pick off any Spanish soldiers that showed themselves while developing the flanks of the enemy line. The next day the Spanish attempted to cut off a small section of Troop C that was reconnoitering the Spanish flank and a lively skirmish ensued. On the 11th the troop was withdrawn to Coamo in order to rest up for the next advance, leaving a small detail to observe the Spanish outpost. On the 12th of August, a detail of men from Troop C left Coamo in an attempt to take a masked Spanish battery that had been sited three miles away. The detachment reached the battery but was unable to capture it because of the presence of seventy-five entrenched Spanish infantrymen acting as battery supports. The men were withdrawn and Troop C was pulled back to Ponce on August 23rd in preparation for its return to the states.
In memory of our Trooper comrades from troop C we will add Rum.
1st Squadron, 101st Cavalry, redesignated 5 March 1914 was redesignated as the 105th Machine Gun Battalion, an element of the 27th Division. The newly reorganized division shipped out to Europe on April 20th 1918 and fought within several different British and American army units along with the 30th Infantry Division. The 27th was initially stationed in the East Poperinghe Line, and participated in actions at Dickebusch Lake and Vierstratt Ridge during the late summer of 1918, and then in September the struggle to break the formidable German defenses of the Hindenburg Line. On September 25th, the division participated in the Somme Offensive and provided a break through of the Hindenburg Line itself forcing the Germans into general retreat. After a final confrontation with the retreating Germans at the Le Selle River the Armistice ended the fighting and the division was sent home in February of 1919, to be mustered out several months later.
To honor the sacrifice and heroics of the 27th division we add Jaeger Meister.
In 1940, because of the deteriorating world situation, President Franklin Roosevelt called 100,000 National Guardsmen into Federal service for a one year period. At that time, the 101st Cavalry was located in Manhattan (Squadron A), Brooklyn (Squadron C) and upstate New York (Geneseo Troop). Headquarters was in Brooklyn. The Troopers of the 101st Cavalry fought gallantly on Germany’s western front, being the first to cross the Saar River, breaching the Siegfreid line and advancing to the Rhine Bridgehead. Having moved 100 miles in 8 days, the 101st Cavalry recon squadron met the German Main Line of resistance at the Tauber river, and broke through to allow the 12th Armored Division to exploit the gap in the enemy defense. The 101st continued through to the Danube and on to the Alps when it received orders to be prepared to deploy to Japan. While preparing for re-deployment at Camp Campbell Kentucky the Japanese surrendered after the atomic bomb at Hiroshima.
To honor the victory of these great cavalryman we add champagne.
The Cold War followed, and New Yorkers fought in Korea, in Vietnam, and in many other, less known battlefields in order to prevent the Soviets from dominating the world. At home.
In memory of these “Cold Warriors,” we add Russian Vodka.
In the fall of 1990 an obscure and ruthless dictator, Saddam Hussein, invaded the free and peace loving nation of Kuwait with the 1,000,000 man Army of Iraq. In response, the United States deployed the most lethal and well equipped Army in the history of man. Easily defeating the Iraqi Army and liberating the nation of Kuwait from the tyranny of Saddam Hussein the US cavalry re-affirmed it’s role in the post cold war world.
To honor those soldiers we add crude oil (maple syrup)
On September 11 after a heartless and cowardly attack on the civilian population of the city of New York ‘s World Trade Center, the pentagon and flight 93. E/101 Cav was deployed to the greater Rochester International Airport to assist in securing the nations airports against further attacks.
To observe the mission in Rochester we find only fitting to add a six pack of Genesee beer.
In response to the terrorist attacks on September 11th the nation struck back at the very heart of the command and control of the Al-qaida by attacking and swiftly defeating the Taliban regime in Afghanistan.
For our fallen Army comrades we add sand (brown sugar).
Moving quickly to respond to the ever increasing threat of the all ready once defeated Saddam Hussein the country once again found itself at war in Iraq. Still feeling the sting of the September 11 attacks on the world trade center in lower Manhattan the governor of New York mobilized and deployed E/101 Cav to the city of New York to aid the New York Transportation Authority by securing key tunnels and bridges throughout New York City.
To honor the people of the City of New York and our own brother spur holders now deployed in Iraq we wish them Godspeed and add Apple Schnapps.
The Spur Master will now sample the Grog!