For us, there's no cocktail that captures the spirit of summer quite like a Dark 'n' Stormy.
We don't think of it as a happy-hour, order-it-in-a-bar kind of drink. And it's not really the sort of thing you'd have in a restaurant as a pre-dinner cocktail.
A Dark 'n' Stormy is definitely a backyard, flip flops, shorts-and-t-shirt kind of drink. It's simple to make. And its cool, refreshing, tingly taste is the perfect thing on a hot, sticky summer night.
But we recently were introduced to a twist on the Dark 'n' Stormy that takes it to a whole new place -- using Goya-brand Jamaican-style ginger beer. If you think you like a Dark 'n' Stormy, this version will knock you off your feet!
Ladies and gentlemen, the Dark 'n' Spicy!
First off, a little background on the Dark 'n' Stormy. We all know what's in it: dark rum and ginger beer. Right?
Turns out, the Dark 'n' Stormy, invented in Bermuda just after World War I, has very specific requirements. In fact, it's trademarked!
Technically speaking, a Dark 'n' Stormy is 2 ounces of Gosling's Black Seal Rum and a splash of ginger beer. That's it -- no variations.
In fact, the New York Times delved into the issue earlier this month:
“We defend that trademark vigorously, which is a very time-consuming and expensive thing,” said E. Malcolm Gosling Jr., whose family has owned Gosling’s since its founding in Bermuda in 1806. “That’s a valuable asset that we need to protect.”
Okay, so Gosling's it is! The Times says Gosling's Black Seal, "as dark as motor oil and with a distinctively charred flavor — tastes like no other rum, in the way that Campari tastes like no other digestif." We can't argue with that.
Anyway, getting back to the Dark 'n' Spicy.
A few weeks ago, our friends Alan and Megan had us over for a Sunday evening barbecue on their back deck -- the perfect setting for a Dark 'n' Stormy. But when Alan brought the drinks out, he announced a twist: the Goya ginger beer.
If you're not familiar with ginger beer in the first place, it's a soft drink (as in, non-alcoholic) flavored mostly with ginger, lemon and sugar. It's sort of like ginger ale with with the ginger turned way up. One brand you see a lot in grocery stores -- the one we had been using -- is Reed's Ginger Brew.
Swapping in the Goya Jamaican-Style Ginger Beer, though, is like sending a traditional Dark 'n' Stormy on a rocketship ride.
The Goya beer -- likely found in the International aisle of your local supermarket -- is a shock of extremely spicy, extremely gingery flavor. Seriously, it's a knock-out. More than once, the Goya Dark 'n' Spicy has sent us into small coughing fits -- it's that spicy.
But trust us, you're gonna love it! The Goya infuses the drink with an invigorating jolt, an energizing slap in the face, like a cannonball jump into a cold swimming pool on a steamy, muggy summer day.
Oh, a word about limes: They're optional, according to the official recipe. They're useless, according to us. We think the mix of ginger and rum is just about perfect as it is. Don't bother with a lime.
So get your Gosling's and your Goya and mix them in highballs filled with ice. Invite some friends over, throw on your flip flops and kick back on your stoop, your rooftop, your deck, your backyard. Tilt back a fizzy, cold Dark 'n' Spicy and watch the summer heat just slip away.
Dark 'n' Spicy
The Bitten Word's adaptation of Gosling's Dark 'n' Stormy
2 ounces Gosling's Black Seal Rum
Goya-brand Jamaican-style Ginger Beer
Fill a highball cocktail glass with ice. Fill halfway with ginger beer (you'll probably want to experiment with the proportions here). Top with rum. Stir and enjoy.