If you are looking for a libation to imbibe while watching the election results this evening, one might enjoy the appropriately named Dark ‘n’ Stormy - because we just don't know how the evening shall turn out!
The Dark ’n’ Stormy has become a cult highball due to a felicitous combination of its no-fault simplicity and the balance of its exotic, headstrong ingredients, each of which is perfectly suited to the common goal: reviving the flagging, spirit-pummeled constitution.
It is simply dark rum — very dark rum — with ginger beer and some fresh lime. The rich spirit is shaken awake by the buoyant piquancy of the ginger beer, while the lime slashes through the sweetness of both. The drink has its roots in Bermuda, and emigrated up the Atlantic seaboard with the sailing set.
Gosling’s rum has a rather sniffy and debatable lock on the recipe, having in fact trademarked its version, even going to the point of threatening with the specter of litigation anyone who might suggest concocting one with another rum. Gosling’s is a delicious rum, and being the dark rum from Bermuda, it is unquestionably synonymous with the Dark ‘n’ Stormy. But, any number of dark rums are interchangeably lovely in this drink, including Coruba, Zaya, Cruzan’s Blackstrap and the Lemon Hart 151 from Guyana. However, commercially speaking, the use of any alternative rum in prohibited by law, and the drink prepared without Gosling’s is often known as a Safe Harbor.
The cocktail has been under the stewardship of Gosling Brothers Limited since its inception at the close of World War I. According to the company, British sailors on shore leave at the island were “big fans” of Gosling’s Black Seal Rum and developed the cocktail by mixing the dark liquor with homemade ginger beer. The name allegedly came after a British soldier observing that the concoction resembled “the color of a cloud that only a fool or a dead man would sail under."
Curiously, the phrase “It was a dark and stormy night” has long been regarded as the pinnacle of “purple prose”, and is considered to represent "the archetypal example of a florid, melodramatic style of fiction writing".
In fact, the phrase was first employed by American author Washington Irving in his 1809 History of New York.
“It was a dark and stormy night when the good Anthony arrived at the creek (sagely denominated Haerlem River) which separates the island of Manna-hata from the mainland. The wind was high, the elements were in an uproar…”
Its status as a catchphrase for bad writing comes from the opening sentence of English novelist Edward Bulwer-Lytton's 1830 novel Paul Clifford:
“It was a dark and stormy night; the rain fell in torrents — except at occasional intervals, when it was checked by a violent gust of wind which swept up the streets (for it is in London that our scene lies), rattling along the housetops, and fiercely agitating the scanty flame of the lamps that struggled against the darkness.”
The Peanuts comic strip character Snoopy, in his imagined persona as the World Famous Author, always begins his novels with the phrase "It was a dark and stormy night." Cartoonist Charles Schulz made Snoopy use this phrase because "it was a cliché, and had been one for a very long time". Snoopy’s novel, in its entirety:
It Was a Dark and Stormy Night
It was a dark and stormy night. Suddenly, a shot rang out! A door slammed.The maid screamed.
Suddenly, a pirate ship appeared on the horizon! While millions of people were starving, the king lived in luxury. Meanwhile, on a small farm in Kansas, a boy was growing up.
A light snow was falling, and the little girl with the tattered shawl had not sold a violet all day.
At that very moment, a young intern at City Hospital was making an important discovery. The mysterious patient in Room 213 had finally awakened. She moaned softly. Could it be that she was the sister of the boy in Kansas who loved the girl with the tattered shawl who was the daughter of the maid who had escaped from the pirates?
And so the ranch was saved.
It is also the opening line in the popular 1962 novel A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle.
“It was a dark and stormy night.
In her attic bedroom Margaret Murry, wrapped in an old patchwork quilt, sat on the foot of her bed and watched the trees tossing in the frenzied lashing of the wind. Behind the trees clouds scudded frantically across the sky. Every few moments the moon ripped through them, creating wraith-like shadows that raced along the ground.”
There, now we something other to ruminate on instead of election results!
How to make a Dark ‘n’ Stormy
2 oz Gosling’s Black Seal Rum
3 oz Gosling’s Ginger Beer
½ oz Fresh Lime Juice
Lime for Garnish
Fill a Highball or Collins Glass with Ice
Build the Cocktail with Ginger Beer first, float the Rum by pouring it over the back of a spoon, and top with the Lime Juice. Add garnish. Cheers!