The Dark & Stormy is a Bermudian cocktail made with dark rum, lime juice and chilled ginger beer.
Ginger beer, if you aren’t familiar with it, is like ginger ale with a kick in the pants. A local Caribbean restaurant, Calabash Bistro, brews it in house. Rich and cloudy, assertively spicy – it was within the first cold sip of their signature drink that my love affair with the Dark & Stormy began.
Lacking a passable substitute for Calabash’s delicious handcrafted ginger beer, I was forced to be creative if I were to enjoy this beverage on my own patio. I craved assertive spice, and ginger ale’s flavour alone was anemic – it just wasn’t providing the right base. I remedied the situation with a fiery spiced simple syrup.
The foundation of my simple syrup is brown sugar, which is a natural pairing with rum. Against the sweet backdrop, fresh ginger and chili provide heat, while cinnamon and star anise add complexity.
Calabash’s version includes angostura bitters. I found that the lemon and lime zest in the syrup, sliced so that some pith remains intact, contributed that slightly bitter edge.
Brooding and spicy, this Dark & Stormy is the perfect antidote to a hot, muggy evening. It has attitude. Serve cold with lots of ice.
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 1 cup water
- 4 slices fresh ginger (about 1/8″ thick)
- 1 red chili, fresh or dried
- 1 star anise
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 1 strip lime zest (about 1″ wide, 2″ long)
- 1 strip lemon zest (about 1″ wide, 2″ long)
Combine brown sugar and water in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Stir until mixture comes to a simmer and sugar dissolves. Add remaining ingredients and let infuse 30-60 minutes. May be stored for 2 weeks in the refrigerator.
Fill a glass with ice, and top with spiced syrup, rum and lime juice. Add ginger ale and stir.