Readers of this blog will know that I am on a mission to perfect the world’s greatest cocktails. Manhattans, Gimlets and Gin&Tonics have been dealt with, but the I needed to gather all my resources before I took on the challenge of that pinnacle of adult beverages, the Dark and Stormy.
OK, that’s a fib. A Dark and Stormy is an enjoyable drink, but hardly a masterpiece of the bartenders art. It’s simply dark rum and ginger beer, usually with a lime wedge for a garnish. Technically it is not even a cocktail since it only has two active ingredients. So not something that I would normally have trained my research sights on.
But these are unusual times…
As part of our scheme to avoid inviting the virus into our fortress, we have been buying groceries by click-and-collect. This requires planning a week in advance what we will need, as opposed to the just-in-time shopping that we have been accustomed to. So inevitably there have been hiccups.
One of these was inadvertently buying fresh ginger two weeks in a row. Normally a smallish piece of ginger is all we need for a couple of weeks. But when you click and collect you get a whacking great chunk because that’s what the store wants to sell. And now we had two whacking great chunks.
So what to do? When the going gets tough, the tough make syrup. Ginger syrup. And sure enough, a few clicks were all it took to find multiple recipes.
To save you the trouble of researching this, the recipes are functionally identical: simmer sliced ginger in a simple syrup. These are the proportions I used.
- 1 cup white sugar
- 1 cup water
- 1 cup sliced ginger. Try for slices about the thickness of a toonie or a £1 coin, but you may want to slice a portion of the ginger very thin (see Tip below)
Mix the sugar and water in a saucepan and heat to the boil. Add the ginger and hold at a light simmer for 20 minutes. Pour the whole contents through a strainer into a large bowl. Let the ginger drip dry, then bottle the syrup. It will keep in the fridge for a long time theoretically, but if your interest in Dark and Stormys has taken you this far then I predict you will use it up quickly.
Tip: Take the thinly-sliced ginger and set it out to dry on a baking sheet or platter. When it is mostly dry, sprinkle white sugar lavishly over the slices. Wait for this to soak in. You may have to repeat a few times but eventually you will end up with candied ginger, which is delicious stuff on its own or added to ginger spice cookies.
So now you’re ready to make your Dark and Stormy. Because the drink is focused on ginger and rum, without the calming soda water element of a ginger beer, I have dubbed this version a Dark and Stormy Force 8 (Force 8 on the Beaufort Scale is Gale force – 30-40 knot winds)
Dark and Stormy Force 8
- 1 ½ oz dark rum Any decent rum will do. I wouldn’t use anything exotic as the ginger will tend to overpower the subtleties.
- 1 oz (or to taste) ginger syrup
Shake with ice, then pour into an Old-Fashioned glass with ice. You can use the same ice it was shaken with.
If you really want to take it up a notch, add one drop (not two!) of Bittermens Xocolatl Mole bitter before shaking.
The only hiccup now is that I haven’t settled on a garnish. Lime wedges didn’t seem right – the acid of the citrus contrasts too much with the warm gingery flavour. A Luxardo cherry might work, or perhaps something really demented like a candy cane. More research is evidently required. 😉