Dark and Stormy Cocktail

Combine ginger beer and dark rum and you’ve got the Dark and Stormy! Here’s how to make this classic cocktail…in just 2 minutes.

Dark and Stormy

Just 3 ingredients make up this classic cocktail: the Dark and Stormy! This refreshing rum cocktail has quite the reputation…because it’s just that good. Each ingredient has lots of personality: the rich, earthy dark rum, with vanilla and brown sugar notes. Add to that spicy ginger beer, fruity and filled with effervescent bubbles. Top it off with a squeeze of tangy lime, and there’s not much that’s better for a hot afternoon (or anytime!). Even better: there’s no cocktail skill needed. Pour it in the glass, and drink up.

What’s a Dark and Stormy?

The Dark and Stormy cocktail is a highball cocktail made with dark rum and ginger beer, similar to a Moscow Mule with rum. The story goes that the drink was invented in Bermuda sometime after World War I, around 1918. British naval officers had been brewing up ginger beer to fight sea sickness, and in a genius move combined it with Goslings Dark Rum. (Read the full history here.)

The Gosling Brothers company has since trademarked the drink under the name “Dark ‘N Stormy,” indicating it should only be made with Goslings Black Seal Rum and their brand of ginger beer. Because of this, some bar menus use different names for this drink, like Safe Harbor.

Ingredients for a Dark and Stormy

This cocktail is on the list of International Bartender Association’s IBA official cocktails, meaning that it has an “official” definition. To skirt the legal implications, IBA calls it the Dark ‘n’ Stormy, with two apostrophes instead of one. The ingredients in a Dark and Stormy cocktail are:

  • Dark rum (traditionally Goslings Black Seal Rum)
  • Ginger beer
Dark and Stormy cocktail

Should you use lime?

Yes and no. The official definition of the Dark ‘N Stormy doesn’t have lime juice in the drink itself, but it’s garnished with lime. A lot of bartenders like to add a measured amount of lime to a Dark and Stormy to add some zip to the flavor. Using lime makes this drink even closer to a Moscow Mule.

In our opinion, the best way to add lime to a Dark and Stormy is squeezing in the juice from a lime wedge. This way, you don’t have to dirty a citrus juicer or take time to measure it out. But you get a good hit of zingy flavor from the lime squeeze.

More tangy drinks? Try more Classic Lime Cocktails or Best Sour Cocktails to Try.

Is a Dark and Stormy a mule?

Yes and no! A Moscow Mule is a classic cocktail made with vodka and ginger beer. There are lots of famous variations on the mule, like the Mexican Mule and Kentucky Mule. But the Dark and Stormy isn’t technically a mule because of two key differences:

  • It doesn’t include a measured amount of lime in the drink. Some recipes do, but the traditional definition of the drink only garnishes with lime.
  • It’s served in a highball glass, not a copper mug. The copper mug is the traditional way to serve a mule, and it adds an icy cold sensation to each sip.

That said, many sources consider a Dark and Stormy cocktail a Moscow mule made with dark rum. We’ll let you decide!

The rum to use

What type of dark rum to buy for a Dark and Stormy? Like with any drink, here’s our mantra: the better the liquor, the better the drink! We try to find a mid-price range rum, which is usually indicative of quality. Of course, if you want to be totally traditional: get Goslings Black Seal Rum.

How do you get the layers in a Dark and Stormy? Pour the ginger beer in the glass, then top off with the rum. However, make sure to stir before you drink it. Taking a sip of the layered drink will give you a hit of 100% rum: you won’t get the ginger beer flavor unless you stir.

Ginger beer

Best ginger beer for a Dark and Stormy

The ginger beer is what has most influence on the flavor of a Dark and Stormy cocktail: even more so than the rum! You’ll want to find a brand that’s sweetened just enough, and made with real ginger. Avoid ginger beer with artificial sweeteners and flavors. Here are our favorite ginger beer brands to buy:

  • Q Ginger Beer: This is our top choice! It has great flavor and is made with real ginger. It comes in small cans so you don’t have to open a large bottle (this helps for making one or two drinks at once).
  • Fever Tree Ginger Beer: Fever Tree also has great flavor and is our backup! It’s made with real ginger and has no artificial sweeteners.
  • For more: Here’s a list of more top brands.

Got an open bottle of ginger beer? Make these Best Ginger Beer Cocktails.

Dark and Stormy

While it’s got its differences, you can consider Dark and Stormy cocktail part of the Moscow mule family. There are lots of well-known variations on the Moscow mule to try:

  • Mexican Mule or Mezcal Mule A tequila-based spin on the classic Moscow mule: perhaps even better than the original! Or try it with a hint of smoky mezcal.
  • Kentucky Mule Switch vodka for bourbon in this spin on the classic Moscow mule!
  • Irish Mule Love Irish whiskey? Use that in your mule and you’ve got the Irish version.
  • Gin Gin Mule A modern classic! It’s essentially a mashup of a bubbly Moscow mule with gin and a minty Mojito.

When to serve a Dark and Stormy cocktail

The Dark and Stormy is bold, bubbly and refreshing. It’s perfect for sipping as a:

  • Summer drink
  • Happy hour drink
  • Dinner party drink
  • Late night drinks drink
  • Guys or girls night drink
  • Cocktail hour drink
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Dark and Stormy

Classic Dark and Stormy


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  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 2 minutes
  • Cook Time: 0 minutes
  • Total Time: 2 minutes
  • Yield: 1 drink 1x
  • Diet: Vegan

Description

Combine ginger beer and dark rum and you’ve got the Dark and Stormy! Here’s how to make this classic cocktail…in just 2 minutes.


Ingredients

Scale
  • 4 ounces (1/2 cup) ginger beer
  • 2 ounces (4 tablespoons) dark rum, traditionally Gosling’s Black Seal rum
  • 1 lime wedge
  • Ice, for serving (try clear ice!)

Instructions

  1. Fill a highball glass with ice and pour in the ginger beer.
  2. Pour the rum on top. Squeeze in the lime wedge. Stir gently, then serve.
  • Category: Drink
  • Method: Poured
  • Cuisine: Cocktails

Keywords: Dark and Stormy, Dark and Stormy cocktail

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About the Authors

Sonja Overhiser

Cookbook Author and writer

Sonja Overhiser is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best healthy cookbooks of 2018. She’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the food blog A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Sonja seeks to inspire adventurous eating to make the world a better place one bite at a time.

Alex Overhiser

Cookbook Author and photographer

Alex Overhiser is an acclaimed food photographer and author based in Indianapolis. He’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the recipe website A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Alex is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best vegetarian cookbooks by Epicurious.

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