Join the Cool Kids’ Club With a Dark ‘n Stormy

Join the Cool Kids’ Club With a Dark ‘n Stormy
Photo: Devojka

One thing I noticed during my cocktail training is that a lot of bartenders are super horned up over the Dark ‘n Stormy. Pre-shift, mid-shift, after-shift, a Dark ‘n Stormy — or Frothy Boi as I have heard them called — seems to be the go-to for many of my favourite cocktail professionals. This has always been curious to me, because it seems like a somewhat arbitrary preference. Like, of ALL the cocktails, why this one? Do all bartenders have cranky tummies, for which the ginger would be beneficial? Does the spiciness help keep them awake? Is it because of how (relatively) easy they are to make? Or because the flavour is so strong that you can keep topping them with soda without losing too much and sneaking in some extra hydration to boot? Is it a company culture thing — an ingrained conversion for the newly initiated behind the bar? It’s a mystery to me.

Don’t get me wrong, it really is a sensational drink. It’s also somewhat of a daring one. Featuring it on a bar menu without using the proprietary Goslings rum could garner you a lawsuit and land you in court. Gosling Brothers owns the trademark to the Dark ‘n Stormy, aka the national cocktail of Bermuda, and they are famously litigious and rather petulant about it. No company too big, no bar too struggling and obscure. If you think you can mix any rum with ginger beer and call it a Dark ‘n Stormy, then hoo-boy, you’re asking for trouble.

What is this cocktail?

In its most prosaic form, a Dark ‘n Stormy is Goslings rum and ginger beer poured over ice and garnished with a wedge of lime (if you’re lucky). But in its most inspired form, it is an exceptional highball (or buck) that will make your eyes go big and your taste buds sing.

What do you need to make yours exceptional?

The key is sweetened ginger juice. Not ginger beer, not ginger syrup, not muddled ginger, but actual fresh ginger juice sweetened with sugar. It’s time to take out that dusty Breville juicer you got four years ago when you decided you’d try a juice fast or whatever. Go to the grocery store, get a bunch of ginger, and juice away. And before you get mad at me for making you do so much work, take comfort in the fact that you don’t have to peel the ginger before you juice it. That’s right: Not only can you keep the skin on, but it’s actually preferable that you do. We want that maximum spice. If you can’t juice your own ginger, then buying fresh ginger juice from the grocery store will work in a pinch, but keep in mind the potency might be subdued.

Once you have your ginger juiced, you’ll combine three parts sugar and one part ginger juice. Stir (or shake) continuously, at room temperature until the sugar has dissolved. There will be a white, sticky sediment at the bottom. You can either try to scrape it up and incorporate it into the mix, or leave it behind. Store your sweetened ginger juice in the refrigerator. It will start losing its bite after two days, but go ahead and use it for a week. It will be fine.

Dark ‘n Stormy

  • 15 ml fresh lime juice
  • 22 ml sweetened ginger juice
  • 60 ml Goslings rum (Or any black/dark rum; just keep it on the DL.)
  • Club soda

Add all the ingredients except the club soda to a shaker and shake without ice. Pour into a highball glass filled with ice and top with club soda. You can garnish it with candied ginger, if you feel so inclined, but I rarely do.

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