It was a dark and stormy night, that’s how the stories are supposed to begin. It sets up the tone for what is to follow. You know nothing good is coming next. Unless Douglas Adams is doing the writing, he might go anywhere. “It was a dark and stormy night when Joel sent off for the clown school correspondence course…” Of course, that could definitely go ominous pretty quick. I apologize for bringing up the clowns, or at least the specter of a possible future clown. Anyway, tonight is actually a dark and stormy night, so in the spirit of being spot on and totally transparent won’t you please join me as we stand and consider the classic Dark ‘n Stormy.

This drink has an interesting history. We need to get something out of the way right up front, while I am going to tell you how to make a Dark ‘n Stormy, I will not actually be making one tonight. The term “Dark ‘n Stormy” is the trademarked property of Gosling, makers of the most excellent Gosling’s Black Seal Rum. To make a Dark ‘n Stormy, you must use 1 1/2 ounces of their rum topped with Gosling Ginger Beer in a highball glass, you may, optionally, rub the rim of the glass with a lime wedge. That is a proper Dark ‘n Stormy. I have made this drink many times and wish I could tonight. In fact, if not for an unfortunate accident unloading the car involving a glass bottle of Gosling’s Black Seal Rum and our stone driveway, that is what we would be doing. That is what I really wanted, I had my mouth set for it, if you follow my meaning. So, I am going to improvise to make an homage to this classic, while taking great care to not make it in a confusingly similar manner. Honestly, I do most everything wrong, so this isn’t really a Dark ‘n Stormy.

You are going to need some construction music and since we are being on the nose and without guile tonight, just crank up “Stormy Weather” by the inimitable Billie Holiday. Like the classic, this is a built drink. I already broke a bottle of rum, so I took no chances and grabbed a plastic large rocks glass, instead of a highball glass, in order to avoid any confusion. Pop in 5-6 artisanal ice cubes, 1/2 an ounce of freshly squeezed lime juice, 3 1/2 to 4-ish ounces of Reed’s Ginger Brew, I just love this stuff and it is what they used in the bar on the beach outside Priory, Jamaica where I first discovered this style of drink. Normally, I would top that with Gosling’s Black Seal Rum, but it soaked into the driveway pretty fast, so I am going with 2 ounces of Hamilton Jamaican Pot Still Black Rum. Garnish with a lime wheel I actually cut last night and forgot to use, that was still lying on the cutting board and serve.

Obviously, this one wants for a stirring, but I love the way it looks if you layer it a bit, reminiscent of storm clouds moving in. Obviously, it tastes wonderful, not as good as the trademarked recipe with it’s slightly toastier rum and bitier ginger beer and with less of a calming factor coming from that citrus. This will do in a pinch, though, as it has tonight.

I like playing with recipes, swapping ingredients, if I find something I prefer. I also totally respect brands wanting to protect their signature drinks. Honestly, I prefer the actual Dark ‘n Stormy and I encourage you to try it, though I do wish they would add a little more lime to it. Once I get back to the liquor store, I will grab another bottle of Gosling’s, I like to keep one in house. I also recommend their excellent Ginger Beer, especially the diet stuff. It is hands down my favorite diet ginger beer. Sadly, I don’t really have a name for my homage, which is clearly not a Dark ‘n Stormy, since it is built in the wrong order with the wrong ingredients and the addition of lime juice. I thought about calling it a DNS, but t that might be confusingly similar, so I nixed that idea. I suppose you can call it anything you like. Well, except for a Dark ‘n Stormy, even on this dark and stormy night. Y’all stay safe, stay hydrated and stay sane, my friends.