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behind the bar: kristina’s dark ‘n’ stormy

by Kristina Gill

You see in today’s food and drink posts that my foodie experiences in London the past few years have left an indelible mark on my palate.  A few years ago, I took the chance of eating at Polpo, a restaurant that was new at the time, specializing in Venetian cichetti, or “small bites” (Don’t ask me why I allow my friends to drag me to Italian restaurants when I am not in Italy!).  While I waited for what I did not know would be three hours to be seated, I tried out a Dark ‘n’ Stormy, a drink I’d never heard of (seeing as how I rarely drink)!  The drink knocked my socks off, literally and figuratively, and I have been chasing the perfect Dark ‘n’ Stormy ever since.  Many have come close, but none have equaled the one I was served at Polpo.  Fast forward to today and whenever I look at a cocktail menu, if I don’t find a Dark ‘n’ Stormy, I try out anything that has rum, ginger beer and lime in it!  –Kristina

About Kristina: I am the food and drinks editor at Design*Sponge. Behind the Bar appears the first Friday of each month, and In the Kitchen With appears every Friday. Photographing drinks and food definitely has perks.  Each column I produce is an exciting opportunity to explore flavors I wouldn’t necessarily try on my own, and I’ve loved just about everything we’ve featured here.  My food and travel portfolio can be found here, and in the most recent issue of Australian Gourmet Traveller annual Italy issue.  If you are looking for more great cocktail recipes, have a look through our archives, including the Bloody Gary by Tom Ross, Bars Manager of the Polpo restaurant group.

See my secret to boosting flavor in the Dark ‘n’ Stormy after the jump!



A little bit of internet research tells me that the Dark ‘n’ Stormy is a “creation” of the Gosling’s Rum company.  It is a simple cocktail which uses dark rum and ginger beer.  Somewhere along the way, lime juice was added into what you often find on menus today.   I used J. Bally rum for this recipe, but you can experiment with any rum, preferably dark, until you find the right combination.  I found that our usual Angostura rum was too sweet.

Dark ‘n’ Stormy

for two

  • 240ml (4 ounces) ginger beer
  • 80ml (2.75 ounces) dark rum
  • 2 limes, one for juice, one for garnish
  • ice

For each glass, fill with ice, the classic shape is the highball.  Pour in the ginger beer until the glass is 2/3 full.  Add the juice of half a lime, or approximately one tablespoon.  Top off with rum.  Garnish with a slice of lime.




Why I love this drink

I think it’s the ginger and the lime.  I love ginger beer, the spicier the better, and I love to taste the ginger in this drink.  When I am unable to buy my favorite ginger beer to make this with, I add a teaspoon of ginger syrup to spice it up.  For me, the best Dark ‘n’ Stormy is not overwhelmed with rum, the rum sneaks up on you.

Suggested For You


  • If you ever have the opportunity, Blenheim’s Ginger Ale is really an excellent choice for the soda in a Dark n Stormy. Be sure to get the Old #3 Hot with the pink cap. Their website says that they have it at Great Jones Café – New York, NY | 212.674.9304. In addition, the Cruzan dark rum is great in this recipe.

  • Three cheers for the Dark n’ Stormy!

    Two suggestions to improve the drink:

    1) Make your own ginger beer (less sweet, more bite. It makes such a difference). I keep trying a variety of store-bought ginger beers and they’re never as good.

    2) Crush the ice (Lewis bag and mallet, crushed ice from an ice maker, etc.) – the flavor of the drink is more balanced with smaller bits of ice.


  • We discovered this wonderful concoction at its source: Bermuda. We’ve tried many different versions since then, but honestly, nothing beast the original (Gosling’s Black Seal Rum and GOSLINGS brand ginger beer – I swear, you can taste the difference.) Luckily, we have sources for both here in Portland. :)

  • I have too fallen in love with Polpo’s Dark & Stormys and had exactly the same experience. Now I can’t stop drinking them and order them everywhere even if it’s not on the menu. However, I quizzed a bartender at Polpo once and I think the main thing is that they use that makes the difference is Old Jamaica Ginger beer and a couple of drops of bitters.

  • @Martrese – I believe you! I was torn as to which one to get, but I wanted to try something different. I will try Gosling’s when we finish the J. Bally.
    @Arianna, I love Old Jamaica! Rome isn’t a ginger beer place, though, so it’s not always easy for me to find a selection. I’ll have to find an online source. I usually order a case or two of Bundaberg online.
    @L I know! Especially considering I had to stand on my feet for 3 hours. I think I had a couple while I was waiting.

  • Just the beautiful simplicity of these images make me want to try this! The liquor store is now on the “to do” list for tomorrow. Thanks for the drink!