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How to make a Dark and Stormy, the rum-centric sibling of the Moscow Mule

It's got the spice of a Moscow Mule with the kick of dark rum: The Dark and Stormy

Dark and Stormy cocktail
Brent Hofacker / Shutterstock

Is there a more evocative cocktail than the Dark and Stormy? The name alone sends you to a warm but restless ocean with a thunderstorm overhead.

Now, before you think you’ve been there and done that, ask yourself this: Did your Dark and Stormy drink involve fresh ginger? Was it made with the right kind of rum? If you’re not exactly sure, read on. We’re here to make sure your next take on the classic Dark and Stormy cocktail 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 been trademarked since 1991 (by the Gosling Brothers rum empire). Its origins go back generations, to among the palm fronds and beaches of Bermuda. There, in the 19th century, as the British Royal Navy often occupied the area, the drink came to be. Legend has it that 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. Her Dark and Stormy recipe calls for a full two ounces of black rum. “I personally enjoy splitting that base with Hamilton’s Demerara Rum,” she said. “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. Perry said it’s best to go with ginger syrup and use it 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 result will be fresher tasting and 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 said.

Dark and Stormy recipe

Boozy Rum Dark and Stormy cocktail with lime
Boozy Rum

Ingredients:

  • 1 ounce Gosling’s Black Seal Rum
  • 1 ounce Hamilton’s Demerara Rum
  • 3/4 ounce lime juice
  • 3/4 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 the cooler. 

Method:

  1. Combine all ingredients (except soda water) into a shaking tin.
  2. Shake & strain over ice into a tall glass.
  3. Top with soda water and garnish with a lime wheel.

Dark and Stormy cider recipe

A Goslings Dark n' Stormy surrounded by lime, Black Rum, and Ginger Beer ingredients.
Goslings Black Seal Rum / Golsings

With its Bermudian beginnings, the Dark and Stormy cocktail is one that is perfect for those warm tropical days sitting by the water and enjoying the sea breeze. Frankly, with its kick of spice from the ginger beer, the Dark and Stormy is a great cocktail any time of the year. But once fall starts to come around and we start to think of cider-based drinks, the Dark and Stormy can easily adapt to give you that fall taste by adding chilled apple cider to the mix.

(Recipe from the Bermudian)

Ingredients:

  • 2 ounces Goslings Black Seal rum
  • 1/2 ounce fresh lime juice
  • 1 ounce chilled apple cider
  • 3 ounce chilled ginger beer
  • 1 apple slice
  • 1 lime wedge

Method:

  1. Fill a glass with ice.
  2. Pour in the apple cider, followed by the ginger beer, and float the rum on top.
  3. Top with fresh lime juice and garnish with an apple slice and lime wedge.

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Mark Stock
Mark Stock is a writer from Portland, Oregon. He fell into wine during the Recession and has been fixated on the stuff since…
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