We've become fans of the Wall Street Journal's weekend drink column. And since income and stress have both been up lately, while the temperature has been down, it's been a perfect time to head down to the local Twin Liquors and discover new things.
This last weekend's column was about the Dark and Stormy, a drink originating in Bermuda and consisting of:
1.5oz Gosling's Black Seal Rum
4 to 6 oz Barritt's ginger beer
Now, usually when drinks specify a brand name, it's all just a marketing ploy. The WSJ column insisted that in this case, the brands (native to Bermuda) were essential. I can't tell you with respect to the Barritt's, since we weren't able to lay our hands on any. We used Reed's Jamaican Ginger Brew (not the uber ginger version, but the 'premium'). However, having acquired and sampled Black Seal Rum (featuring a rather charming dark-skinned seal on the label) I can tell you that it is worth seeking out -- and why not at only about $15/bottle?
Rum is one of those much abused drinks in modern America which is seldom found in anything like a pure form. Most rum these days is clear, and much of it is coconut flavored. This is an abomination. Such tropical monstrosities may be all very well for gaining entry to the oft-hollowed halls of one's local sorority girl, but they bear no resemblance to the drink which fueled the Royal Navy and the pirates of Caribbean and elsewhere -- you know, the ones who captured or sank ships, not the fairied-up escapees from some kids' ride at Disneyland.
Black Seal is good dark rum, and tastes like exactly what it is, a drink distilled from fermented molasses. It's wonderfully smooth, and the combination of that burnt molasses taste with the sweetness and tang of a good strong ginger ale (this is not a place of stuff like Verners) is quite good indeed.
After some experimentation, my own preferred mix is a handful of ice, about 6oz of ginger ale, and 2oz of rum. MrsDarwin prefers it a little lighter on the rum -- lest she be convinced to do anything inconsistent with her quiet and refined personality.