Have you ever enjoyed a dark ‘n’ stormy? I only discovered the dark rum, ginger beer and lime cocktail about a year ago, slurping up quite a few while watching a friend compete in windsurfing races last spring and summer.
Not being a huge fan of rum, I was a bit skeptical at first, but the ginger and lime components won me over.
I love the refreshing tang of lime and the spicy zing of ginger – perfect for either a warm summer’s day or a frigidly windy but confusingly sunny spring afternoon, and we get plenty of the latter in San Francisco.
But now that I’ve thought to swap out the rum for my much more beloved gin, I don’t think I’ll be returning to the original. Nor to my other warm weather go-to, a standard gin and tonic.
This version, inspired by and named to mimic the dark ‘n’ stormy, has a lighter, crisper flavor and a slightly foggy appearance, depending on the type of ginger ale or beer used. It’s similar to a gin and tonic but without the bitter, almost medicinal taste of quinine. Instead, a zippy and zesty ginger flavor is used – to much tastier effect, in my opinion.
The ginger ale or beer – whichever you opt to use – can really make or break this drink. I picked up a few different brands to try, as some ginger ales and beers are spicier or sweeter than others.
I knew I wanted something zesty, and in the end, my favorite was Bruce Cost’s Fresh Ginger, Ginger Ale, which is made with only fresh ginger and cane sugar and was easily procurable at my local Whole Foods.
I also tested out a few ginger beers, but I thought they were pretty syrupy, lacked the ginger flavor I wanted, and were generally quite sub-par. I won’t rule out ginger beer completely, as I have previously had amazing ginger beer on a few occasions; I just can’t recall the brands, so I’ll have to keep looking. Or make my own!
Bright ‘n’ Windy
Makes 1 cocktail
2 oz. gin
1/4 lime, cut into a wedge
3-5 oz. ginger ale or ginger beer
Fill an old fashioned glass with ice. Pour gin over ice. Squeeze juice from lime wedge into glass, and drop the wedge in too. Top with ginger ale or ginger beer, and stir well to chill before serving.