For the last, oh, let’s say five or six years, the dark ‘n’ stormy, which is its proper name, has been making something of a comeback. It has appeared on menus as far afield from its birthplace as this northern town, and in contexts as different from island time as New York city. Also, it is certainly giving the Cuba libre and the gin and tonic a run for their money as a no brainer mixer. There’s nothing derogatory in that last sentence, btw, on the contrary.
The funny thing is that most of us are doing it wrong and illegally. That’s right, breaking actual law.
This refreshing cocktail comes from Bermuda, where it is pretty much the national drink (yay Bermuda), and it seems very likely that the British navy had a hand in its creation. After all even the most piratey of sailors likes a little variety now and then, your daily tepid rum ration only goes so far. Or maybe it was the other way around and rum was used to improve on the ginger beer? Because apparently the navy was brewing ginger beer on Bermuda, so sailors, rum, a mixer, that’s a cocktail waiting to happen.
What you possibly did not know, is that this drink is trademarked, and how to make it is regulated by law. Ask the US Patent and Trademarks office if you want.
By law, to call this drink a dark ‘n’ stormy, you have to make it with Gosling’s Black Seal rum and with ginger beer (brand not specified). Also there’s no lime juice. Gosling has been known to pursue this matter legally, though to what extent their ire might be applied to bars instead rival rum runners I do not know. In any case, it’s an excellent marketing strategy. Cue the sarcasm beers.
I’m not 100% certain why, but this position/attitude rubs me the wrong way. Maybe I think that money spent in positive advertising would be more fruitful, in several ways, than litigation (possibly cheaper too), or maybe I’m just a hippie. If it had been called the gosling, or the black seal there would be no arguing on my part, the very name of the drink would indicate provenance and composition. Now it feels like a drinkskultur grab.
So in the spirit of rum rebellion and freedom, but also legality, my plan, my mission, is to convince all of you and all of your friends to start calling any drink made with dark rum and ginger beer a stormy. The name is free for all to use. Add lime juice or bitters according to your whims.
I’ll have a stormy please. I think it rolls off the tongue.
Stormies of the world unite.