The national drink of Bermuda is not only delicious, it’s trademarked!
It’s always fun to sample the national drink of any travel destination: We’ve fallen in love with pisco sours in Peru, tequila in Mexico, dawas in Kenya and rosés in Provence. We’ve also enjoyed sipping regional drinks whose names are synonymous with the wines and spirits produced there, like Cognac, Bordeaux, Burgundy and Chianti.
The legendary national drink of Bermuda
When we arrived in Bermuda, we didn’t know what to expect of the island’s cocktail culture. Then we discovered the Dark ‘n Stormy, the national drink of Bermuda, made with Gosling’s Black Seal Rum and ginger beer garnished with a slice or wedge of lime.
Rum-based drinks tend to be popular in the Caribbean and South America (the world’s two largest producers of rum). While Bermuda’s island culture bears some similarities, it’s too far north to be considered part of the Caribbean collection.
Contrary to what you might think, Dark ‘n Stormy has nothing to do with the hurricane season that threatens the idyllic island from June to October. Rather it refers to the 80-proof “dark” Black Seal Rum and “stormy” (frothy) ginger beer used to prepare the cocktail.
According to an article in Eater on the legendary drink:
“The name [was] inspired by an old fisherman who when confronted with the dark, swirling tempest of a cocktail remarked that it resembled a ‘cloud only a fool or a deadman would sail under.’”
The Gosling Brothers, who actually went so far as to trademark the name and ingredients for the Dark ‘n Stormy, have produced rums in Bermuda since 1806. They’ve also impressively maintained an iconic retail storefront on Front Street in Hamilton since 1824, handed down over seven generations.
When the Hamilton Princess Hotel opened its doors in 1885 (nicknamed The Pink Palace), the Gosling’s rum served there was packaged in champagne bottles salvaged from the British Naval Officer’s Mess, re-corked, and resealed with black wax—hence, called Black Seal Rum. On a play with words, the company also incorporated a black seal image in their logo.
The tradition of ginger beer was a gift from the British military as well. They made the brew by fermenting ginger, spice, yeast and sugar. Gosling markets its own brand of the non-alcoholic, naturally sweetened and carbonated beverage.
The signature cocktail is typically served in a highball glass over ice. Properly, it’s never served with another brand of rum or with the addition of lime juice. (It seems that there is a legal and illegal ways to prepare the trademarked drink.)
Over the past decade, the cocktail has enjoyed a renaissance beyond the island (sometimes improperly prepared) but it was great fun to sample the national drink of Bermuda made the right way in its “terroir.”
Our virginal experience took place when the ingredients and instructions were left in our room at the Hamilton Princess in Bermuda as a turndown amenity. Too tempting to turn down!
The instructions are easy enough for even a neophyte mixologist but if you are lazy or extremely thirsty after a day at the beach, you can also pop the tab on a Dark ‘n Stormy 8.4 oz. cocktail-in-a-can, containing 9% alcohol.
Official recipe for the Dark “N” Stormy: National Drink of Bermuda
- 1.5 oz. Gosling’s Black Seal Rum
- 4-5 oz. Gosling’s Stormy Ginger Beer
- In a glass filled with ice, add Stormy Ginger Beer and top with Black Seal Rum.
- Garnish glass with (optional) slice or wedge of lime.
How to prepare a Dark ‘n Stormy on YouTube:
Have you tasted a “national drink” that has become a favorite of yours?