Rough Seas Cocktail

A fitting drink for the Cod Wars

Your cocktail calendar entry for: September
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We don’t often discuss fighting over fish, but for the Cod Wars we’ll be mixing the Rough Seas cocktail.  You see, the first (of several) Cod Wars between the United Kingdom and Iceland started on September 1, 1958.  Sure, the Cod Wars didn’t meet the usual definition of a conventional war, but these were serious disputes over fishing rights in the North Atlantic.  And, interestingly enough, they all ended in victory for Iceland.  In honor of our piscine friends we’ll be mixing up the Rough Seas cocktail recipe.

Fish and chips appeared in the UK around 1860.  And they must have been eating a lot of them, because their boats were annoying Iceland.  By the end of the 19th century Icelandic waters (then part of Denmark) were critical to the UK’s fishing industry.  British catches in that area were more than twice the combined catches of the rest of their distant fishing fleet.  But in 1901 the fifty year ‘Anglo-Danish Territorial Waters Agreement’ was signed and everyone but the fish calmed down.

The Cod Wars

With the end of the 50-year term approaching Iceland initiated the agreement’s defined repeal process.  Iceland ended up unilaterally extending its fishing limits from 3 to 4 nautical miles.  The British were not amused, and a trade war ensued.  Fish caught by Iceland could not be sold in England, but other nations seeking influence in the area stepped in to buy cod.

The First Cod war started September 1, 1958, after Iceland extended their territorial limit to 12 miles.  The British and the rest of NATO protested, but backed down when Iceland threatened to leave NATO and ban US military operations stationed in Iceland.

The Second Cod War came in 1973 when Iceland extended its fishing limits to 50 miles.  This one got pretty testy, and Iceland employed measures like net cutters to foil English trawlers.  Again, Iceland threatened its NATO membership and the presence of US and British troops there.  This was the closest they came to actually pulling out and an agreement limiting Britain’s presence was signed.

The Third Cod War started in 1975 after several countries at the third United Nations Conference on the Law of the Sea supported a 100-mile limit to territorial waters.  Iceland announced its intent to go one better and claim 200 miles.  Navies got involved, nets were cut and some 55 ship ramming incidents were recorded.  Iceland got serious when it ended diplomatic relations with the UK and made clear its NATO membership was linked to the outcome of the Cod War.

In the end the world backed down and Iceland got what it wanted.  The UK abandoned its “open seas” policy and the United Nations eventually codified the 200-mile limit for all nations.

The Rough Seas Cocktail

The Rough Seas cocktail seems like an appropriate Drink of the Day both for its value as a metaphor for the Cod Wars but also because the North Atlantic is notoriously rough.  We have Sother Teague of Amor y Amargo, who previously brought us the Mountain Suze, to thank for the drink.

The Rough Seas cocktail recipe is one that fits in the tiki dimension, but it uses a key ingredient you probably haven’t thought of much since some of those ill-advised college shenanigans:  Jägermeister.  Mr. Teague seems to have thought that the grapefruit, clove and ginger in Jägermeister would fit a tiki style drink and he made good on that.  Of course, we still have rum involved so tiki traditionalists shouldn’t feel out of place.

rough seas cocktail

Rough Seas Cocktail

An invention of Sother Teague at Amor y Amargo, the Rough Seas cocktail gives you something better to do with Jägermeister than you experienced during your college days. Who would have ever expected it to show up in a tiki-style drink, but this combination really works.
5 from 1 vote



  • 1 oz Jägermeister
  • 1 oz Aged or dark rum
  • ¾ oz Ginger syrup We'll explain how to make it below if you're so inclined, but you can substitute ginger beer. Or a half ounce each of Domaine de Canton ginger liqueur and some simple syrup.
  • ¾ oz Orgeat syrup
  • ¾ oz Fresh lemon juice
  • Peychaud’s Bitters


  • Add all ingredients except for the bitters to your trusty shaking tin.
  • Add ice and shake until frosty cold.
  • Fill a double old-fashioned glass with pebble or crushed ice and strain the drink into it.
  • Mound more ice on top like a snow cone and paint it with several dashes of the Peychaud's bitters.
  • Drink.
  • Consider fish and chips for dinner.
  • Ginger Syrup: First, thinly slice one half cup of ginger, peeling is optional. Add one cup of water and one cup of sugar to a small pot. Heat and stir until all the sugar is dissolved, and off the heat add the ginger. Allow to steep for 20-30 minutes and strain to remove solids. Bottle and refrigerate. This is nice to have around as something for a variety of thirst quenchers like ginger lemonade.
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