Is there a more evocative cocktail than the Dark and Stormy? The name alone sends you to a warm but restless ocean, a thunderstorm overhead.
Now, before you think you’ve been there and done that, ask yourself this: Did your Dark and Stormy involve fresh ginger? Was it made with the right kind or combination of rum? If you’re not exactly sure, read on. We’re here to make sure your next take on the tropical classic is as good as it can be.
Simply put, the cocktail is essentially the rum-centric sibling of the Moscow Mule. It has become so popular that a version of the name has actually been trademarked since 1991 (by the Gosling rum empire). Its origins go back generations, to among the palm fronds and beaches of Bermuda. There, in the 19th century, as the British Royan Navy often occupied the area, the drink came to be. Legend has it, some enterprising officers whipped up sizable batches of ginger beer to be served with the region’s ever-popular dark rum.
How exactly the two complementary liquids ended up being mixed together is anyone’s guess. It could have been the work of a wasted sailor or an astute local bartender. Rum, of course, was everywhere in those parts, so that part made sense. The ginger beer, many believe, came about as both an alternative to potentially suspect water and as a cure for seasickness. Regardless of how the two actually met, the combo continues to be wildly popular, well beyond Bermuda.
Alicia Perry makes an exceptional Dark and Stormy at her San Diego bar, Polite Provisions. There, the recipe calls for a full two ounces of black rum. “I personally enjoy splitting that base with Hamilton’s Demerara Rum,” she says. “The combination of the two spirits brings forth notes of burnt cane, vanilla, and brown spice.” The pot-stilled rum hails from Guyana along the Demerara River.
Another important aspect is the inclusion of ginger. It’s best, as Perry prescribes, to go with a ginger syrup and use it in tandem with soda water. It follows suit with what the classic original recipe calls for. Perry dubs it the “a la minute” ginger beer, as it’s quick to whip up and doesn’t involve too much labor (see below). The end result with be fresher tasting and really emphasize the kick genuine ginger can offer.
“If you are unable to make the ginger syrup, I would suggest utilizing 4 ounces of Fentiman’s Ginger Beer in place of the ginger syrup and soda water,” she says.
1 ounce Gosling’s Black Seal Rum
1 ounce Hamilton’s Demerara Rum
.75 ounce lime juice
.75 ounce house-made ginger syrup*
3 ounces Topo Chico (or other soda water)
- lime wheel for garnish
*House Made Ginger Syrup: Mix 4 parts ginger juice (strained of pulp) and 3 parts cane sugar. Whisk vigorously and store in cooler.
Method: Combine all ingredients (except soda water) into your shaking tin. Shake & Strain over ice into a tall glass. Top with soda water and garnish with a lime wheel.
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