The story goes that shortly after the Great War, the Royal Navy started offering ginger beer instead rum in an attempt at temperance. Upon being asked whether they wanted ginger beer or rum, limeys answered that they would take both. They poured both rations together, drank it, and thus was born the dark and stormy.
It’s a nice story but some variation of the rum and ginger has been around for ages. In fact, it hardly starts with rum. Ginger is a flavour that tends to go well with most amber spirits. Some experts believe that the first spirit and mixer style drink was likely ginger beer and brandy.
Now all that history is nice, Mr. Scribe, but how does one go about making a dark and stormy?
The Dark and Stormy
- Gosling’s Black Seal or Bundaberg rum
- Bermuda stone ginger beer (Barritts or Regatta work well with Gosling’s, or use Bundaburg with Bundaberg)
- Lime wedge
In a long glass pour a healthy measure or rum and add ginger beer to taste. When I make it, I pour ginger beer until it has roughly the color displayed to the right. Squeeze the lime wedge if you like, stir gently to mix, and add ice to fill.
Now we just came to one of the huge debates in making the dark and stormy: to lime or not to lime? In Bermuda the lime is verbotten. In the States, and most of the Caribbean, ubiquitous. Were I a bartender, or entertaining, I would simply provide the lime wedge as garnish and allow my guest to use the lime as he or she saw fit. As for me, I like it both ways. If I am in a bar, I drink it as provided. In Bermuda, I drink it without the lime. When my father makes it, he adds lime. When I make it, it depends on my mood. The one I was drinking this evening can be seen to the left, and, as you can see, has a lime.
Now I had hoped to make a cocktail out of the dark and stormy. I was thinking rum, ginger liqueur, and perhaps lime bitters. Unfortunately, while I did see ginger brandy, I had heard bad things about it. As for something decent like Giffard’s Ginger of the Indies or Canton, well, the cheap liquor (Hillside Liquors) I go to for staple products would never carry something like that, and the more upscale place I go to for my sippers and specialty liqueurs (Downtown Wine & Spirits) was in the process of remodeling and didn’t have it in stock. Meanwhile, my housemates with cars were working ten hour days and didn’t feel like driving me to Kappy’s. So we needs must languish without the cocktail and leave it for another day.
And so, in the spirit of Friday and the Race, I wish you,
A willing foe, and sea room to race her,