A Little Background
For all its name’s melodrama, the Dark and Stormy’s history is tame. In 1806, an early Gosling family member sailed from England bound for Virginia. He didn’t make it to America—the sea was too still—so the ship headed for the nearest dock instead, which happened to be in Bermuda. There, he used his family background in spirits to create the recipe for Gosling’s aged black rum. On another part of the island after World War I, British naval officers were brewing up ginger beer to combat sea sickness. They swirled the two together in a cup, a sailor allegedly commented it looked “the color of a cloud only a fool or a dead man would sail under,” and the Dark and Stormy was christened. Many things disappear into the Bermuda Triangle. The Dark and Stormy was one thing to come out of it.
Goslings still plays a big part in Dark and Stormy lore, largely thanks to a slew of trademarks it owns on the cocktail. Technically speaking, a Dark and Stormy (dubbed Dark ‘N Stormy by Goslings) can only be made with Gosling’s Black Seal rum and Gosling’s Stormy ginger beer—no lime juice, but garnishing with a lime wedge is permissible. And Goslings is litigious about its intellectual property, going after competing beverage companies that try to rip off the name and recipe with their own rum brands. On some menus, you’ll find a cocktail called Safe Harbor, which is basically a Dark and Stormy without the legal baggage.
The Dark and Stormy cocktail was not born from the windy blackness of London, nor was it created in a barroom catering to the alcoholic needs of woebegone writers. In fact, it has nothing to do with bad literary tropes and gothic language. The Dark and Stormy is a drink that came to be in the Caribbean waters, where rum is plentiful and so are sailors. It’s a drink that was spit out by the sea, more or less. It’s a drink with a really cool name.
To make a Dark and Stormy—it has just three ingredients but lots of spice—Gosling’s Black Seal rum is the preferred brand, but really, anything dark and funky will work. Officially speaking, it is frowned upon to liven up your Dark and Stormy with lime juice, but we appreciate a layer of citrus. Just don’t swap in ginger ale for the ginger beer. That would be a crime.
2 oz. dark rum
3 oz. ginger beer
1/2 oz. lime juice (optional)
- Fill a tall glass with ice cubes. Add rum.
- Pour in ginger beer and lime juice.
- Stir with a barspoon.
- Garnish with a lime wedge. Enjoy.