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Friday Afternoon Cocktail (Saturday Edition): Dark and Stormy

This week’s cocktail was delayed by a rather impolite weather front here on the East Coast, which has played havoc with power lines and traffic lights, tossing trees about in a most haphazard fashion. So let’s hold off on Manhattans til next Friday, and respond with a creation which is appropriately named, simple, and refreshing: The Dark and Stormy.

This rum and ginger drink – invented in Bermuda after World War I, and nowadays particularly popular in New England – is one of the few where the ingredients are supposed to be set in stone. Indeed, by force of law: not one but two patents indicate the exact products and amounts to be used in creating a Dark and Stormy. You can thank the fine people at Gosling’s for that, though there is a reason:

Gosling’s Black Seal — as dark as motor oil and with a distinctively charred flavor — tastes like no other rum, in the way that Campari tastes like no other digestif. In a further effort to sanctify the formula, Gosling’s created its own brand of ginger beer, in May, called Gosling’s Stormy Ginger Beer. This came after years of an unofficial partnership with Barritt’s, a Bermudan brand of ginger beer; Mr. Gosling declined to characterize the nature of the split, but said no specific ginger beer was ever cited in the company’s trademark registrations. “We would never tie ourselves down that tightly,” he said.

Gosling’s is certainly up to the task, and it’s the rum of choice for many a fan. But if you’re going to try another, let me recommend Coruba, a Jamaican rum which is heavy on the molasses flavor. As for the ginger beer, Barritt’s, in my opinion, is better than Gosling’s – though some aficionados insist on making their own. Let’s keep things simple, though. Thus:

  • 3 parts ginger beer 

  • 1 part Gosling’s Black Seal Rum
  • Lime wedge

Fill a highball glass with ice, and pour in the ginger beer first, then the rum, so it floats to the top of the glass as befitting its name. Give a nice squeeze of lime, and drink, thinking not of storms but wide sandy beaches.

  1. Joseph Stanko

    What is ginger beer, is it the same as ginger ale? Or is ginger ale an acceptable substitute?

  2. Severely Ltd.

    A friend in the Bahamas served me this a few years ago with Gosling’s and Barrit’s. I’d never heard of it and was made to understand that I was getting something special. It lived up to the billing; itwas very tasty.

  3. Bahrainiac

    Ginger Ale is very different from Ginger Beer.  Try the “Ethnic” section of your local grocery store, specifically the Latin American section if they have one.  

  4. flownover

    BenWith the hot weather upon you, let me recommend Pimms Cup for thise hot afternoons . Try a fat shave of cucumber with the lemon. And mix 7up and ginger ale 1/2 with a jigger of Pimms 1. thnx 4 Trnsm

  5. Midget Faded Rattlesnake
    Joseph Stanko: What is ginger beer, is it the same as ginger ale? Or is ginger ale an acceptable substitute? 

    A recipe for homemade ginger ale looks a lot like the recipe for homemade ginger beer given in Ben’s link above. But it is also quite different from store-bought ginger ale.

    The effervescence of ginger beer and homemade ginger ale come from yeast. But just because the recipe for the homemade stuff includes yeast doesn’t make it hard to do. It’s much, much easier than baking your own yeast-raised bread. (Just make sure to “burp” your bottles now and then to prevent minor explosions!)

    If you’d like to try your hand at even easier homemade beverages, may I suggest making your own flavored vodkas (or Everclear)? I’ve never tried steeping ground ginger (or any ground spice — how would you filter something that fine?), but slivers of fresh ginger or little chunks of dried ginger? Yum! You can even use the technique to make your own liqueurs.