What's a Dark 'n' Stormy? Here's How to Craft the Iconic Coastal Cocktail

What's a Dark 'n' Stormy? Here's How to Craft the Iconic Coastal Cocktail

Step aside, negroni and margarita. As the calendar turns to fall and the nights get longer, we're all about the Dark 'n' Stormy.

Shop the look: Lucy stemless wine glass by Caskata; driftwood tray by FishAye.  All photos by Tulip Tree Tales by Lynn Paynter.

Don't be frightened by its dramatic name — the Dark 'n' Stormy is the perfect cocktail for autumn.

Calling for just three ingredients, the Dark 'n' Stormy is incredibly easy to make. But the real reason it's our drink of choice this time of year is its bold, spicy flavor and the way it warms your palette on cool, crisp days at the shore.

So what's a Dark 'n' Stormy? Read on as we step you through the recipe — and tell the tale of this mysterious drink's nautical origins.

Dark 'n' Stormy Recipe

Shop the look: Lucy stemless wine glass by Caskata; Newport dipping dish by Caskata; appetizer tray by JK Adams; Rhythmo tablecloth by Charvet Editions.

Makes two servings


4 oz. dark rum

6 oz. ginger beer

1 oz. lime juice 

ice cubes


  1. Fill your glasses about two thirds of the way with ice cubes.

Sure, this drink is usually served in a highball glass, but we think the curves of a stemless wine glass add a touch of elegance.

  1. Add the rum.

Gosling's is our dark rum of choice — read on to find out why.

  1. Pour in your ginger beer. 

We love Fever-Tree ginger beer. It has a fresh, bright ginger taste and isn't too sweet, making it a perfect pairing for the rum.

  1. Add the lime juice.

Purists (including the lawsuit-happy Gosling's Rum, who own the trademark for the drink) say a true Dark 'n' Stormy calls for only rum and ginger beer. Nothing more, nothing less.

But we can't help ourselves: The bright acid of the lime juice complements the sharpness of the ginger and the depth of flavor in the rum so well. Plus, that shot of citrus gives us one more faint taste of summer to savor!

  1. Stir gently.

And when we say "gently," we mean it. A slow and steady hand will help the rum find its way atop the ginger beer. The result? A drink that resembles a dark and stormy sky.

  1. Garnish with a lime wedge and serve.

Fun fact: Although Gosling's Rum insists on no lime juice, they are OK with a lime garnish!

Shop the look: Lucy stemless wine glasses and nested appetizer tray set by Caskata; Rhythmo tablecloth by Charvet Editions.

What's the History of the Dark 'n' Stormy?

Picture it: England, 1806. 

A young merchant by the name of James Gosling sets sail for America, with the hopes of expanding his family's business: selling wines and spirits. But in the great tradition of European settlers not knowing where they're going as they sail across the Atlantic, Gosling doesn't quite end up in Virginia, even after three months at sea. 

He's in Bermuda — about 700 miles away from his destination.

But James decides to make the best of it. Soon after setting his anchor in St. Georges, he concocts a new recipe for dark rum. People love it, and Gosling begins selling the spirit in champagne bottles sealed with black wax.  (Hence its name: Gosling's Black Seal Rum.)

Fast-forward to World War I, when a group of Royal Naval Officers battling seasickness decide to mix Gosling's dark rum with their freshly brewed ginger beer. Their verdict? The taste was delicious, but the look was foreboding. In fact, one sailor reportedly remarked that the drink resembled: "the color of a cloud only a fool or a dead man would sail under." 

And there you have it: the birth of the Dark 'n' Stormy.


Let us know what you think of the cocktail. Or better yet — let's see your mixology work in action! Follow us on Instagram and Facebook and post a pic of your autumnal Dark 'n' Stormy's with the hashtag #home2harbour.