Take your mind off your troubles with the Dark ’N Stormy cocktail, a bubbly blend of ginger beer, dark rum, and lime. The Caribbean flavors of this classic tiki cocktail transport you to a sunny beach in Bermuda. Life’s better at the beach. If you can’t be there, at least you can drink like you are.
There is some controversy surrounding the Dark ‘N Stormy because of lawsuits filed by Gosling Brothers over the use of “Dark ’N Stormy,” which is their registered trademark. Basically, Goslings asserts that if you don’t use Goslings Black Seal Rum, you can’t call it a Dark ’N Stormy. That shouldn’t be a problem. The rich molasses flavor and Bermuda funk of the Goslings pair perfectly with spicy ginger beer.
Despite a trademark and the official recipe from Goslings, there are several different recipes in the wild. I’ve tried them all, and I’m going to show you my favorite way to make a Dark ’N Stormy cocktail.
Dark ’N Stormy Recipe
Dark ‘N Stormy
- 2 oz Goslings Black Seal Rum
- 3.5 oz Ginger Beer
- 1/2 oz Lime Juice
- Garnish Lime Wedge
- Fill a Collins glass with ice cubes
- Add fresh lime juice to the glass
- Pour the ginger beer into the glass
- Gently stir to incorporate the lime into the ginger beer
- Float the Goslings Black Seal Rum on the top of the drink by pouring slowly over the back of a bar spoon
- Garnish with a lime wedge
Detailed instructions and notes
Despite being a simple 3-ingredient cocktail, the Dark ’N Stormy benefits from several nuances in technique.
This cocktail is neither shaken nor stirred, but built in the glass because of the carbonation. Those little bubbles excite the palate and we’re going to use several techniques to preserve them.
First, pass the lime juice through a fine mesh strainer to remove any pulp. Carbonated beverages release bubbles of carbon dioxide gas when the gas gathers on small solids called nucleation sites. When all the gas has escaped, the drink is flat. Lime pulp floating in the drink would create additional nucleation sites, making the drink go flat faster.
When you pour the ginger beer, pour it on the side of the glass and let it run down as if you were pouring a beer and wanted to minimize the foamy head. This also helps keep the ginger beer from going flat.
The act of pouring the ginger beer into the lime will do most of the work of blending the two together. Once you’ve poured the ginger beer, give the drink a very gentle stir with your bar spoon to fully incorporate the lime, but don’t stir too much. Again, we want to keep as much carbonation in the drink as possible.
Now float the Goslings Black Seal Rum on top by pouring it slowly over the back of your bar spoon.
Finally, garnish with a lime wedge. I used half a lime wheel in the photos for visual appeal. But a lime wheel makes a useless mess if you try to squeeze it into your drink. Use a wedge so the drinker can add more acidity without getting lime juice all over their fingers.
I like to layer the rum on top of the ginger beer because it looks stunning and creates a cocktail that changes over time. As the drink rests, the bubbles in the ginger beer work to draw the rum down into the drink.
However, the first few sips are almost straight rum. For this reason, many people make the Dark ’N Stormy by putting the rum in the glass with the lime juice, then pouring in the ginger beer and stirring. This fully incorporates the rum into the drink for a more consistent flavor, but you lose the visual appeal. You could also serve it layered, with a straw or stir stick so the drinker could choose to mix or not.
It’s also worth noting that the official recipe doesn’t call for lime juice – only a lime garnish. I like the taste of the lime juice with the ginger, so I included it in my recipe.
Legally, the only rum I can recommend for a Dark ’N Stormy is Goslings Black Seal Rum.
If you want to use another rum, you’ll have to call it by a different name. For example, sometimes I’ll make a “Dim ’N Breezy” with a Flor de Caña Añejo or even Kraken 94.
Some will say that using a spiced rum, like the Kraken, is overkill because it overwhelms the spice in the ginger beer. I say to use the rum you’ve got, and if it tastes good, drink it.
That said, if I were going to buy rum to make this drink, I’d buy the Goslings. I really like the flavor.
Ginger beer is another matter of personal preference, so experiment and find one you like. Goslings makes one. Barritts is the classic choice. I prefer Fever Tree – it is pleasantly spicy, doesn’t contain High Fructose Corn Syrup, and the little 6.8 oz bottles are perfect for making two cocktails.
Don’t use Ginger Ale. It’s not the same thing as Ginger Beer, which has a much more powerful and spicy ginger flavor.
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