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Cocktail In Focus: The Dark ‘n’ Stormy

The Dark ‘n’ Stormy is the official cocktail of Bermuda. The cocktail’s name appeared after a sailor mixed ginger beer with the islands official rum, known as Gosling’s Black Seal sometime after the First World War. But here things get a bit more complicated. This recipe is trademark-protected by the Gosling family and is used to preserve their prestigious brand. It is extremely rare in the cocktail world to have a trademark like this. This is due to the bartending practise of adding creative touches and flairs to cocktails to make them your own. However, the trademark is only really enforced when a Dark ‘n’ stormy is advertised using a different rum.

In Bermuda in 1960, the Gosling family developed a dark and full bodied rum which is today known as Gosling’s Black Seal. Elsewhere on this tiny Island, the British Royal Navy were brewing Ginger beer. There has been no evidence as to why, but one theory is that it was done in an effort to try to wean the Navy off the large amount of rum they were consuming. They were bound to collide at some stage on the Island and according to Malcolm Gosling Jr the story was as follows;

“All the British Navy sailors were at the Royal Bermuda yacht club here in Hamilton (Bermuda’s capital city) because it was way too windy and stormy to go out to their boats“,

Gosling Jr. says. “So they were at the bar, banging back black rum and ginger beers. And one sailor — who was very drunk — asked for a black rum and ginger beer.” Malcolm pauses briefly to explain the normal way to pour a cocktail: first ice, then liquor and lastly soda. “But the bartender, seeing that this man was drunk, only served him a glass of ginger beer. The sailor then piped up, ‘Put some rum in my drink’, and when the bartender did, the rum just sat on top. So the sailor kind of looked at it for a little bit and said ‘That looks like a storm cloud only a fool or a dead man would sail under’. Which was quickly followed by:  ‘Barkeep, I’ll have another Dark ‘n Stormy’.”

(Source: here)

The recipe for the Dark ‘n’ Stormy is quoted as;

2oz. Gosling’s Black Seal Rum
6 oz. ginger beer

To create the Dark ‘n’ Stormy: In a medium/tall glass, add ice till half full. Add the Ginger Beer and then gently pour the Goslings rum on top so it floats at the top of the glass. Stir so that the mixture looks like a storm cloud. 

For more information on the how seriously the Gosling family take their patent have a look at this article from the New York Times from back in 2009.

With such a unique creation story, a colourful history and a rare trademark, there is little wonder as to why the Dark ‘n’ Stormy seems to have a lot of attention surrounding it. It’s not a bad cocktail either in case you haven’t tried it, and next time you have the opportunity to order one see how legal your version is.