As I sit here on this dark and stormy evening in Oxford, Ohio, I yearn for one drink and one drink alone. A drink that takes me back home to the sun and gales and sea and sand of the North Atlantic rock I call home.
This barely-a-cocktail cocktail is sophistication in its simplest form. It’s Bermuda in a glass. Highball, ice, ginger beer and a float of Bermuda black rum, lime wedge optional (but preferable). The Ginger Beer:Rum ratio is typically 70:30, 60:40. Doesn’t matter too much, so long as the ginger beer comes first. Measure to your liking, though the rum portion tends to get more generous as the evening progresses.
Is the Dark ’n’ Stormy even a cocktail? When we think of the term today, it’s usually a so-called ‘innovative’ and over-complicated take on an old classic. I have lost count the number of bars where I encountered some new, bastardized version of an Old Fashioned, with seltzer water and grenadine. Or a hipsterized Martini, with all sorts of fruits and flavors. By that measure, no, the Dark ’n’ Stormy is not a cocktail. But fuck that measure.
With the Dark ’n’ Stormy there is no room for meddling. It is impossible to get wrong, just get the rum right — Gosling’s Bermuda Black Seal. The ginger beer is also important — Bermudian Barritt’s and Gosling’s are preferred, Jamaican brands are usually a bit too sweet for my liking, but can work. Ginger Ale is not Ginger Beer, and if you try it (as one Peckham bartender once did when making me one) I may have to resort to violence. Simplicity, in my book, is the measure of cocktail greatness.