The Dark and Stormy cocktail is a blend of dark rum and ginger beer often referred to as the unofficial drink of Bermuda and of sailors. It is said that a mariner is always happy to cross the rhumb line and have a Dark 'n' Stormy.
This history of the Dark ‘N’ Stormy cocktail dates back to 1806 when Englishman James Gosling the son of a London wine and spirits merchant set sail upon a chartered clipper called The Mercury heading for Virginia in America to expand the family business.
The Dark 'n' Stormy Cocktail Recipe
Variations on this drink are many, but to be legally considered a Dark 'n Stormy, it must be made with Black Seal rum made by Gosling's, which has trademarked the cocktail's name.
60 ml / 2 Fl oz Gosling's Black Seal rum
150 ml / 4-5 ounces ginger beer
Fill a Collins glass with cubed ice, add rum and ginger beer, stir and garnish with lime wedge or lime wheel.
In sailing terms, the route from England to the Bermuda is a downhill ride with the promise of following winds. However, this journey proved to be slow and after 91 days at sea the ships charter expired. James Gosling and his cargo were put ashore at the nearest port in St George’s on the island of Bermuda. James Gosling was an entrepreneur and observed that no-one was trading in wines and spirits there at the time and so opened a shop and started trading.
Over time his merchant business would grow and by 1850 it would diversify into the aging, blending and selling of many different distillates including a rum called “Old Rum” which was exclusively sold through Gosling's shops.
At the time customers would need to provide their own bottle or jug to get a fill-up from the barrel. By the 1920’s the Goslings started providing recycled champagne bottles sourced from the Officer’s Mess at the nearby British naval base. The rum was poured in, corked and sealed with a black sealing wax without a label – customers would simply ask for "Black Seal". This award-winning rum would go on to be known as a Gosling’s Black Seal Rum and be exported worldwide.
The Island of Bermuda
Gosling’s Black Seal Rum appealed to naval officers, who added ginger beer to help them with their seasickness. The Dark ‘N Stormy cocktail was not established until sometime after the First World War.
The story handed down is that a sailor at the Royal Naval Officers Club post WWI is thought to have described the drink as that of “the colour of a cloud only a fool or a dead man would sail under.” The Dark n’ Stormy was then named.
Today the Gosling's hold the patent and trademark for the Dark n’ Stormy a highball made of spicy ginger beer and rich Gosling's Black Seal dark rum. However this does not stop you creating a similar drink with a different name, replace any of the ingredient with other products, so long as you don’t call it a Dark ‘N Stormy.