It’s come around again and today I am going for a cocktail that represents my mood this morning. I’d better explain why because I don’t often get in a bad mood. I have just taken delivery of the new virgin media box which was a free upgrade; easy to install yourself apparently. I opened the box – good start – read the instructions – understood them – rang up to activate – yep still going well – “please unscrew the cable using the spanner provided – arrrrrrrrggggghhhhhh. They sent me a plastic spanner that didn’t even fit it was too sodding small. On the phone to some poor chap in India for what felt like a lifetime because I lost the internet signal in the process and I couldn’t understand a blasted word he was saying poor chap. Subsequently 45 minutes later I’m researching cocktails for today’s post and came upon a Dark and Stormy cocktail recipe and thought yep that’s the one!
Dark and Stormy Cocktail Recipe
According to a Rum tale, this drink was invented more than 100 years ago when members of Bermuda’s Royal Naval Officer’s Club added a splash of the local rum to their spicy homemade ginger beer. They described its ominous hue as “the colour of a cloud only a fool or dead man would sail under”.
This is a very simple recipe, and all you need to make a great Dark and Stormy is a good dark rum and a nice ginger beer. Some bartenders will add lime juice as well, but it is not needed. In fact, if you want this drink in its true Bermudian style, then you would skip the lime. Think I would have to try both versions.
If you feel a bit fancy, try floating the rum on top of the ginger beer to create a layered Dark and Stormy.
You will notice that this recipe uses two very specific ingredients and calls them out by name. That is because the Dark and Stormy cocktail recipe originated in Bermuda and Gosling’s Black Seal Rum and Barritt’s Ginger Beer are both produced on the island. For a real taste of this cocktail, go with these brands.
Apparently, Gosling’s has trademarked the Dark and Stormy, and legally it should only be made with their rum. The rum producer even filed a lawsuit against Malibu Rum in 2015 for an “unauthorized” cocktail that was a play on the original recipe (mixologists and brand ambassadors beware!). That said, the Dark and Stormy is also a great cocktail when made with any other combination of dark rum and ginger beer and there are endless possibilities available.
For the rum, make sure that it is a dark rum. One that is rich and flavorful and preferably from the Caribbean will be best. You want to give this cocktail some oomph and a white rum, even a golden aged rum, will simply not create the same background.
Do not use a spiced rum in a Dark and Stormy. The ginger beer already has the spice profile covered, and there is no need to repeat that aspect. In fact, it produces a pretty bad drink!
Barritt’s is (according to the brand) “Bermuda’s Favourite Soft Drink” and is the choice for an authentic Dark and Stormy cocktail recipe. It is a sweeter ginger beer and is better as a cocktail mixer than on its own. However, it can be difficult to find, and you may have to look hard to find it locally.
It is interesting to note that in Gosling’s official recipe (complete with trademark symbol) they use their own ginger beer called Gosling’s Stormy Ginger Beer. There is no mention of Barritt’s. Old Jamaica is pretty good too.
So many of the stories behind the great drinks we enjoy are a little hazy, and the Dark and Stormy cocktail recipe is no exception. Like Navy Grog, as already touched upon it does have something to do with the British Royal Navy and sailor’s rum rations of the 1800’s.
Much of this rum was among the blackest Caribbean rums they could get a hold of, and when Gosling’s began marketing their version around 1860, it became one of those favoured. For some odd reason, the Royal Navy also began producing their own ginger beer around this time and as David Wondrich puts it on Esquire, ‘The swabbies, given a choice between Demon rum and temperance beverage, said, “Fanx, gov, we’ll take both.'”
How Strong Is the Dark N’ Stormy?
If we were to mix a Dark N’ Stormy as prescribed with Gosling’s and Barritt’s and no lime juice, then it is a relatively mild mixed drink. Gosling’s may be dark, but it is still just 80 proof so the finished drink would weigh in at right around 15% ABV (30 proof). (Author at “The Spruce”)
- 2 fl oz Gosling’s Black Seal Rum
- 3 fl oz Barritt’s Ginger Beer (I like Old Jamaica)
- 1/2 fl oz fresh lime juice (optional)
- Lime wedge for garnish
Give it a go with and without the lime and let me know which you prefer.
Right, I need to get on with writing my book about the upcoming TV health documentary; I had some positive news yesterday but can’t say for maybe another couple of months at the latest. So excited to be able to share all this with you when I can. Anyway, I’m digressing again; hope you all have a wonderful weekend and catch you soon.