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Monday, March 9, 2009

Dark and Stormy

It was a dark and stormy night in Chicago when I had my first Dark and Stormy.  My wife and I were attending my company holiday party at the Sofitel Chicago Water Tower Hotel on Chestnut Street when an unscheduled (at least by me) blizzard intruded.  Due to an inattentive failure on my part to reread the invitation, we arrived at the Sofitel almost an hour before the beginning of our event.  What to do?  There was no way we were going to go walk around outside, and just sitting in the lobby seemed like a bore, but a quick look around the lobby revealed Le Bar, an attractive cocktail lounge.  No discussion was needed.  The French servers were very friendly and hospitable, and we were soon situated at a nice table near the windows where we could watch the blizzard without feeling any of its ill affects.  The server came by to recommend some specialty cocktails and chat us up about our favorite spots in Paris (Place des Vosges), but I had already noticed a drink on the menu featuring my favorite dark rum (Gosling’s Black Seal®): the Dark and Stormy.  And so began a love affair with the Dark and Stormy that will endure until androids rule the earth.

The Dark and Stormy is a simple cocktail with only three ingredients: Gosling’s Black Seal® dark rum, ginger beer, and lime juice, and in Bermuda (home of the D&S) they generally leave out the lime.  I prefer lime in mine, but you should experiment to determine your preference.  Ginger beer is not ginger ale; it has a spicier taste, so don’t try to use ginger ale to make a D&S.  Your neighborhood grocery store may not carry it, but there are many brands (like Bundaberg Australian) available that you can find at stores like Target and World Market.  Also, don’t confuse ginger beer with the concoction of beer and ginger syrup that is sometimes sold in bars.

You might also want to experiment with the amount of ginger beer you use.  Some ginger beers are spicier than others, and you don’t want to overpower the rum, so find the exact proportion that works for you.  Fickle mixologists may substitute other dark rums, but I recommend that you stick with the Gosling’s Black Seal.  Although the D&S is normally built as a highball over rocks, you can also shake it as a cocktail, shaking the rum and lime juice, pouring it into the cocktail glass, and then adding about an ounce or two of cold ginger beer to the glass.  Yet another variation on the cocktail version is to leave the lime juice out of the shaker, but squeeze a lime wedge over the glass and drop it in.

(Thanks to The Liquid Muse for reminding me of the Dark and Stormy in a post about her new "Storm on the Horizon" cocktail.)

Dark and Stormy

2 oz Gosling’s Black Seal® rum

4 oz cold ginger beer

½ oz freshly squeezed lime juice (optional)

Fill a highball glass with ice cubes.  Add the rum and lime juice.  Fill the glass with ginger beer.  Stir lightly and garnish with a lime wedge or wheel.  Drink on the veranda and see if you can hear the seals barking.



  1. Hi utah mixologist! Is there any reliable place to buy ginger beer in salt lake city?

  2. Hi Sabine:

    I usually buy Ginger Beer at Target or World Market. My wife is pretty sure that Whole Foods has it, too. The brands we find are Bundaberg and Reed's, but I can't remember who sells which one. If this will be your first Dark & Stormy, you're in for a treat!

    --Utah Mixologist

  3. you can really good Ginger Beer from Custom Soda Labels in Sandy UT