If you’re looking for a great rum cocktail recipe it’s hard to go past a classic Dark and Stormy. Sailors and seafarers have for long been caught under its curse, taking to the high seas and high streets for a rum-filled adventure, but the classic drink wasn’t born from the black, bleakness of Britain. In fact, the Dark and Stormy has almost nothing to do with the Gothic writers that made the cocktail iconic. Instead, the colourful concoction has a far more Caribbean history, one that deserves to be celebrated.
How to Make a Dark and Stormy
Main alcohol: Rum
Served: On the rocks; poured over ice
Standard garnish: Lime wedge
Drinkware: Highball glass
Dark and Stormy Ingredients
What makes the Dark and Stormy cocktail so iconic and popular, is the fact that is remarkably easy to make. What’s more, the majority of the ingredients you’ll likely have sitting in the kitchen cupboard already. The Dark and Stormy recipe calls for only three ingredients:
- 60 ml Goslings Rum
- 100 ml Ginger Beer
- Plenty of large ice cubes
- Lime wedge
That’s all it takes. Simple, sophisticated and the ideal cocktail for any seafarer, the Dark and Stormy is a staple of bars across the globe. It is generally presented in a highball glass.
Dark and Stormy Recipe
The Dark and Stormy recipe is one of the more simple in the bartender’s arsenal:
- Fill a highball glass with ice
- Pour 100 ml of ginger beer into the glass
- Top with rum so it floats through the ginger beer
- Garnish with a lime wedge
Common Dark and Stormy Mistakes
Like we mentioned, just because the classic three-ingredient cocktail is simple, does not mean you can’t stuff it up. In fact, the fewer the ingredients, the more important it is to get them right. Here are the common mistakes people make when preparing a Dark and Stormy cocktail.
- Using lime juice – While the traditional garnish is indeed a wedge of lime, adding lime juice to the mix is a big no-no amongst staunch advocates. Too much citrus can throw out the balance of the spices in the rum.
- Not using Gosling’s – While we personally aren’t overly fussed which rum you use in your Dark and Stormy, Gosling’s is. The brand patented the name Dark ‘N Stormy, meaning if you make one with anything other than Gosling’s dark rum, you’re breaking the law.
- Ginger ale – The key ingredient, other than rum, in a Dark and Stormy recipe is ginger beer, not ginger ale. You might think they are the same, but that’s simply not the case. While ginger beer is brewed and fermented, ginger ale is carbonated water flavoured with ginger.
What is a Dark and Stormy?
Crafted in the Caribbean waters, the Dark and Stormy recipe is a cocktail born out of necessity. In the region, rum is plentiful and readily available, which historically has made the Caribbean a favourite amongst travelling sailors. The Dark and Stormy itself is an embodiment of the cruel sea, and a ravishing recipe that has more than stood the test of time. The name the Dark ‘n Stormy, it was reportedly coined by a sailor who noted that it was the colour of a cloud only a fool or a dead man would sail under.
The legend of the Dark and Stormy drink begins way back in 1806, when James Gosling, the oldest son of wine and spirits merchant William Gosling hit the seas. Leaving from Gravesend (Kent) in England on the ship Mercury, Gosling was headed to America, but his journey was cut short just 91 days into the tour, forcing the ship to dock at the nearest port in St. George’s, Bermuda. Not much is known about James’ time in Bermuda, but one thing is for certain; he came back with a penchant for the dark, brown spirit known as rum.
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By 1860, James’ rum fascination had turned professional with the release of Gosling’s Black Seal, its first branded dark rum. It wasn’t until after the First World War that Black Seal officially got its name, however. Up until that point, the rum was sold from a barrel, with fans topping their old bottles for a fill-up. Eventually, word spread and the black rum moved to champagne bottles reclaimed from the British officer’s mess, with the corks sealed with black sealing wax. Thus; the Black Seal name was born.
In terms of the Dark and Stormy, the cocktail emerged around the same time. According to legend, sailors who frequented a Ginger Beer Factory run by the Royal Naval Officer’s Club discovered that a dose of Gosling’s Black Seal could be aided by a hefty helping of ginger beer. The basic Dark and Stormy recipe had arrived, but not without contention.
In the United States, “Dark ’n’ Stormy” has been a registered trademark of Gosling Brothers Ltd of Bermuda since 1991. In fact, a true Dark ‘N Stormy cannot be called so, unless it is made with Gosling Black Seal rum. That being said, any quality dark rum will do the trick.
What is the Best Rum for a Dark and Stormy?
While it would be remiss for us to not mention the importance of Gosling’s on the history of the Dark and Stormy cocktail, in modern times, there are options. Here in Australia, rum is steadily growing in stature, with new distilleries popping up regularly. We love to hit up the locals, and in the wake of a pretty tough summer for our distillers and brewers, we encourage you to do the same. Check out our list of the best rums for dark and stormy right here.
To make a Dark and Stormy, you need just three ingredients but lots of spice. Anything dark will work, but the preferred brand is a high-proof, species like Gosling Black Seal.
Legend goes, the drink got its name from an old sailor who compared the drink's murky hue to the colour of storm clouds.
While ginger beer is brewed and fermented, ginger ale is carbonated water flavoured with ginger.
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