Most cocktails with tropical roots mix rum with some type of fruit juice, so combining ginger beer and rum with a lime wedge garnish makes a unique and surprisingly tasty drink. In many bars across the country, the beverage has become almost as popular as the trendy mojito.
Ginger Beer and Rum
Rum is readily available at liquor stores. Ginger beer is sold in some supermarkets and liquor stores, as well as at the chain store Trader Joe's.
Ginger Beer Ingredients
Ginger beer is made with a fermenting agent which enhances a simple mixture of fresh ginger, sugar and water. This additive can be from a ginger beer plant or just be a simple dose of brewer's or baker's yeast. Ginger beer only needs a few days for the carbon dioxide to form and produce a palatable beverage. The finished product normally has up to an 11 percent alcohol content.
Rum's base is sugar cane juice or a sugar by-product like molasses. It is fermented and distilled before being aged in barrels, typically made of oak. Light rum has a lighter flavor than dark rum, which is aged for considerably longer periods of time.
The Original Pairing
According to the prevailing story, combining ginger beer and rum in a cocktail first occurred in Bermuda right after World War I. The official name for the cocktail, which is frequently referred to as "Bermuda's National Drink", was Dark 'n Stormy and has since been trademarked by Gosling Brothers Limited. To be legally called Dark 'n Stormy, the ingredients must include Gosling's Black Seal Rum and the proportions and directions in the recipe must be precisely followed.
The first country to duplicate the ginger beer and rum recipe was Australia, which Bermuda has hosted for the renowned annual Classic Tournament rugby competition since the early 1970s. Rumor has it that following one of the raucous matches, an Australian bartender mixed Queensland's Bundaberg Rum with some ginger beer. In 1993, Bundaberg started selling a premixed version of the drink in cans. The company also produces the ginger beer used in the drink.
Sailors who regularly passed through Bermuda introduced the cocktail to Eastern seaports in the United States. Bars from Portland, Maine all the way south to Annapolis, Maryland serve variations of the cocktail.
Initial Dark 'n Stormy Recipe
This is the one that was trademarked in the early 1990s:
Pour two parts Gosling's Black Seal Rum and two parts Ginger Beef into a tall glass. Add ice. Garnish the cocktail with a fresh lime wedge.
Variations on the Concept
With just two basic ingredients in the original, the adaptations vary widely, with some completely omitting the beer component and others adding herbs and syrups to the mix.
Muddled with Mint
This version combines freshly squeezed ginger juice in place of ginger beer, muddled fresh mint leaves and cut up limes in a pitcher filled with rum. The mixture is poured into a tall, ice-filled glass and topped off with a sparkling splash of ginger ale.
Sweet and Spicy
Fill a tall glass with ice and add a splash of Rose's lime juice. Add a generous shot of dark rum and top it off with foamy ginger beer. Float a lime wedge on top for garnish and a tart finish.
Lime Lovers' Libation
Pour ginger beer over ice in a tall cocktail glass and add a healthy shot of rum. Mix in a tablespoon or two of freshly squeezed lime juice, stirring all ingredients gently to preserve the carbonation in the beer. Adding a lime wedge garnish is a bit of overkill.
Mix Your Own
If the taste of ginger beer mixed with rum sounds intriguing, instead of following a prescribed recipe, just fill a tall glass to the brim with ice and pour in a shot or two of rum. Serve a bottle of ginger beer on the side and add it to the rum and ice at your discretion until you discover the perfect balance for your palate. Instead of feeling dark or stormy, you may well end up feeling closer to light and sunny.