May 16, 2009

You just can't leave well enough alone, can you?

I've got a fun tale to relate about this drink; I made it before I went on vacation last summer, and I think Nature decided to punish my hubris. My trip to Florida coincided with the arrival and subsequent quadruple-landfall of Tropical Storm Fay, and my entire vacation was spent dodging downbursts. The drink's name: Dark N' Stormy. The Atlantic has a cruel sense of humor.

Despite that, it's a wonderful, and very simple drink. Despite that, you all know I can't leave well enough alone, and I've doctored it a little bit. I'll give you the original, and then my take.
Dark N' Stormy (original version)

2 oz Gosling's Black Seal rum (or any dark/blackstrap rum, but Gosling's is traditional)
5 oz ginger beer (or as strong a ginger ale as you can find)
Large lime wedge (1/4 lime, or so)

Build over ice (rum first) in a highball glass, then squeeze in the lime
It's great as is, but I tinkered with it a touch and made this:
Dark N' Stormy (my version)

Juice of 1/4 lime
1/2 oz ginger beer base (recipe follows)
1/4 oz falernum
2 oz Gosling's Black Seal rum
5 oz ginger ale

Pour first four ingredients over ice, stirring to combine, then add the ginger ale, stirring gently to integrate everything.
The ginger beer base is more or less a homemade ginger juice, but one that doesn't require any juicer. It does require a bit of patience, however. I'm using the recipe from The Cocktail Chronicles, but I've scaled it down by about 1/3, just to keep it from going to waste:
3 1/3 cups water
4 oz ginger, finely chopped or sliced as thin as possible on a mandoline
2 oz light brown sugar (processed as minimally as possible)
juice of 1/4 lime
1/3 bay leaf

Boil the water, remove from heat and add the ginger and bay leaf. Cover and let steep for at least four hours but preferably overnight. Strain the mixture through cheesecloth, squeezing out all the liquid you can. Add the sugar and lime juice, stir/shake to combine, bottle and refrigerate.
You can use this to make your own ginger beer, mixing with club soda at about a 1:1 ratio of base to soda, or for ginger ale, at about a 3:1 or 4:1 ratio. It's wonderfully spicy.

Anyway, as for my variant on it, I think it's a great take on the original, if I do say so myself. The ginger and spice in the falernum really meld with the ginger beer base and ginger ale to make a deep, satisfying drink, and the fresh lime juice notes really make it pop. This is a fantastic summer could probably even serve it with a brunch (if you must. I hate brunch, but that's just a personal neurosis) as it's light and crisp. Plus, ginger is an excellent digestive aid, so it might even help you eat more. Just please, don't tempt the fates like I did and drink it before leaving for a vacation in the middle of hurricane season. It's not nice to fool with Mother Nature.
Dark N' Stormy


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