Did you know that a cocktail could be trademarked? Especially one that most people would consider a classic? Yeah, me neither. But the Dark 'n' Stormy, a rum cocktail made with ginger beer and Gosling's Black Seal Rum (and only Gosling's Black Seal Rum), is trademarked, and that recipe is defended "vigorously".
That seems like a shame to me—no one tries to lay claim to the gin and tonic, or rum and Coke, leaving people free to tweak and experiment with them without fear that they'll be threatened with legal action for making a cocktail.
As, technically speaking, I could also get in trouble for posting a "Plum Dark 'n' Stormy", since I am not using Gosling's rum and I've added another ingredient, I would like to emphasize that this is not a Dark 'n' Stormy. Huh-uh. Not at all. This is a Plum Storm cocktail, which is a totally different thing.
Ok, now that we have that out of the way...
Dark rum and ginger have always been a natural pairing. The spicy flavor of ginger works perfectly with the deep caramel and spice notes in aged rum, and balances out some of the sweetness. White rum would be easily overwhelmed by the strong taste of ginger beer, which is why a "real" Dark 'n' Stormy uses Gosling's Black Seal, which has a dark, charred taste to it.
Also, don't use ginger ale. Just don't do it. The flavor of ginger beer is much stronger, because ginger beer is fermented, while ginger ale is pretty much just carbonated water and ginger. And usually doesn't have real ginger it it anyway. If you use ginger ale in your cocktail, it's just going to be underwhelming.
So where does the plum come in? Well first of all, it's the beginning of stone-fruit season, which means that things like plums, nectarines, and pluots are all ripe now. Plum and ginger desserts are common, and plums' natural balance of sweetness and astringency make them natural partners for dark rum, which can sometimes have notes of dark fruit to it.
The cocktail is spicy and light, and the muddled plums give it a pretty mauve color. It's perfect for these last few weeks of hot weather, when all you want to do is sit on your porch (or in the air conditioning) and pretend that winter isn't coming.
Although winter means whiskey...
- 1-2 ripe plum slices
- 2 oz. dark or spiced rum
- Ginger beer
- Lime wedge
Muddle the plum with the rum in a tall glass. (If you don't like the pulpy bits in your drink, you can muddle separately and then strain into your cocktail glass.) Add ice to fill, and top with ginger beer. Finish with a squeeze of lime.