What better island-style cocktail to enjoy while in Bermuda than a delightfully spicy and slightly sweet rum cocktail known as a Dark ‘n’ Stormy? With more than a 150-year history, Bermuda’s unofficial national drink is as storied as they come. Here’s a glimpse into the fascinating history of this classic cocktail, along with the Dark ‘n’ Stormy recipe of record.
In 1806, a chartered English clipper, Mercury, set out from Gravesend, Kent, England bound for America. After 91 days of struggling at sea, they managed to make it ashore to Bermuda. The helmsman’s name was James Gosling. Of course, the Goslings eventually became one of the most important families on the island and entered the rum business in 1857. After much experimentation, the Goslings arrived at the distinctive rum formula that would be favored by many in the centuries to come. For many years, it was sold from the barrel and called “Old Rum” for its smooth taste. During World War I, the rum was bottled in discarded Champagne bottles from the British Officers Mess, but with the corks newly sealed in black wax. People began asking for the rum with the black seal and thus, the name chose itself. Much later, a creative interpretation gave rise to the well-known label image of the black seal balancing a barrel on its nose.
It was kismet then that ginger beer also happened to be produced on Bermuda by the British Royal Navy – perhaps due to ginger’s effectiveness at easing seasickness. As the story goes, one evening a bartender at the Royal Navy Officer’s Club decided to add a splash of Gosling’s new rum to their spicy homemade ginger beer. Legend has it that a sailor supposedly sipped it and remarked that the color of the drink looked like “the color of a cloud only a fool or a dead man would sail under.” And here the Dark ‘n’ Stormy was born – a favorite of all those in the global boating and sailing community and sea lovers ever since.
This Bermudian cocktail has been trademarked by Gosling’s Black Seal Rum – and yes, there are many wrong ways to make a Dark ‘n’ Stormy. Below is the original Gosling’s recipe, made with their legendary barrel-aged blended Caribbean rum that started it all.
Gosling’s Dark ‘n’ Stormy
1.5 ounces Gosling’s Black Seal Rum
4 to 5 ounces ginger beer
In a highball glass filled with ice, add the ginger beer and top with rum for the classic stormy look. Garnish with a lime wedge and enjoy – preferably while out on the water. Cheers!