June 9th is International Dark ‘n Stormy® Day, honoring one of the few cocktails (photo #1) whose name is actually trademarked*—in this case, by Goslings Rum’s Rum. And it’s such a simple recipe: just two ingredients, Black Seal Rum and Stormy Ginger Beer.
It’s the national drink of Bermuda.
The drink is so popular that Goslings has a ready-to-drink canned Dark ‘n Stormy (7% ABV; $ 9.99 SRP, photo #4), and even a Dark ‘n Stormy Happy Hour Gift Box.
Stormy, by the way, is the name of the seal on the label of Goslings† Black Seal Rum, and the ginger beer was named for him. It’s the best-selling ginger beer brand in the U.S., and it’s our favorite brand, too. It has just the right amount of spiciness.
Goslings Stormy Ginger Beer also is made zero-calorie diet version, which is so delicious that we no longer buy bland diet ginger ale. Diet Goslings Stormy Diet Ginger Beer is a zero-calorie miracle.
> The history of the Dark ‘n Stormy is below.
Ingredients Per Drink
1. FILL a tall glass with ice. Pour the ginger beer into the glass and float the rum on top.
According to the company website, the Dark ‘n Stormy was invented in the 1920s, when more adventurous members of the British Navy stationed on Bermuda started adding Goslings Black Seal Rum to the ginger beer they brewed to combat seasickness (ginger beer is very low in alcohol).
It turned out that Gosling’s Black Seal Rum, with its molasses flavor notes, was the perfect complement to the sizzling ginger beer.
The Dark ‘n Stormy allegedly got its name from an old sailor who compared the drink’s murky hue to the color of a storm. It’s just a legend, but everything needs an origin story, even if you have to make one up.
And the drink does look like a storm cloud in a glass.
Who created Gosling’s Black Seal dark rum?
In the spring of 1806 James Gosling, the oldest son of William Gosling, a wine and spirits merchant, set out from Gravesend, Kent, England on the ship Mercury, with £10,000 sterling worth of merchandise, bound to set up shop in America.
After 91 days on calm seas—unable to move because there was no wind—the ship’s charter (the period of time for which the ship was hired to transport goods from the vessel’s owner) ran out.
The ship put in at the nearest port, St. George’s, Bermuda. James liked it enough to stay and open shop there, instead of re-chartering a boat and heading to America.
Brother Ambrose Gosling arrived to join the business in 1824, and the shop was moved to Hamilton. The brothers entered the rum production business in 1857.
The firm, first known as Gosling and Son, was later renamed Gosling Brothers.
In 1860, after much experimentation in the blending process, the distinctive black rum that would later be named Black Seal was ready for sale [source].
After much experimentation in the blending process, the distinctive black rum destined to be Black Seal was formulated and offered for sale [source].
Up until the First World War the rum was sold from the barrel, and folks brought in bottles to be filled (note that many products were scooped from the barrel, from sugar and flour to coffee and crackers–hence the brand Cracker Barrel).
Eventually, the black rum was sold in Champagne bottles, reclaimed empties from the British Officer’s Mess. The corks were sealed with black sealing wax. People began asking for the “Black Seal,” and it became the name of the rum.
Many years later, a play on words and images gave birth to the little, barrel juggling black seal logo. The seal subsequently was named Stormy, and gave its name to Goslings Stormy Ginger Beer.
Today, Goslings Black Seal Rum is made in 80 proof and 151 proof.
The business is run by Malcolm Gosling, the 8th generation rum maker.
And the ginger beer?
It became another favorite drink of the British, and was also produced on the island. Among other places, there was a ginger beer factory that was operated as a subsidiary of the Royal Naval Officer’s Club [source]!
Today Goslings is run by Malcolm Gosling, the 8th generation rum maker.
*There are three cocktails protected by trademark. The other three are the Hand Grenade, the Painkiller, and the Sazerac.
†What’s the deal with Gosling versus Goslings? While the family is named Gosling, when they called their brand Goslings, they decided to eliminate the apostrophe. As editors, we don’t approve—but no one consulted us. We also disagree with the trademark spelling of Dark ‘n Stormy. Since ‘n is a contraction of “and,” it should be ‘n.’