Happy Hour History: The Dark ‘n’ Stormy

Drink Features
Share Tweet Submit Pin

Bermuda, 1860. The Gosling family begins experimenting with rum, as families do. The result is a dark, distinct, full-bodied “old rum,” which would become Gosling’s Black Seal. Elsewhere on the island, the British Royal Navy, satisfied with having conquered the known world, does the next logical thing: they start brewing beer. Ginger beer. It’s unclear why exactly, but one theory suggests it may have had something to do with ginger’s effectiveness in combating seasickness. Another posits that is was an effort to wean sailors off rum.

At around 20 square miles, Bermuda’s not a big place so it wasn’t long before these two beverages ended up in the same glass. According to a legend, the name Dark ‘n’ Stormy was coined by a sailor sometime after WWI who, while enjoying the cocktail, commented that it was the “colour of a cloud only a fool or a dead man would sail under.”

captain HH history.jpg
A visual approximation of that sailor

Made with ginger beer and Gosling’s Black Seal Rum — and only Gosling’s Black Seal Rum — and garnished with a lime, the Dark ‘n’ Stormy is the official cocktail of Bermuda. For those of us who play fast and loose with cocktail construction, this particular drink presents a bit of a challenge. The recipe is trademark-protected, and fiercely defended. Don’t believe me? Check out this New York Times story& about just how serious (read: litigious) the Gosling family is about preserving the brand.

Dark ‘n’ Stormy Recipe

2 oz. Gosling’s Black Seal Rum*
3-4 oz. ginger beer

Directions: In a Collins glass filled with ice, add rum and top with beer. Garnish with a lime.

*Like I said, the Gosling family is very protective of their recipe so if you’re going to substitute another rum, be sure they don’t find out.

What happens when the Goslings find out.

Enjoy while listening to this.