Dark ‘n Stormy™ + Trump & Stormy.
While you can’t copyright a cocktail recipe it hasn’t stopped a few companies trademarking cocktail recipes. The most interesting example of this is Gosling Brothers Ltd’s aggressive pursuit of anyone who dares to make a Dark ‘n Stormy™ – or anything a person might reasonably confuse with such – with anything other than Gosling’s Black Seal dark rum, ice and ginger beer (note that lime juice is not in their recipe). A number of cease and desist lawsuits have been slapped on everyone from rival rum manufacturers to cocktail bloggers. I find Gosling’s legal efforts particularly egregious for a number of reasons: a) I can see, to some extent, why Bacardi trademarked the Bacardi Cocktail (which is just a Daiquiri with grenadine) because if you order it as such it’s reasonable to expect the rum in it to be Bacardi. This is clearly not so with a Dark ‘n Stormy as the name contains no mention of the brand of rum used. b) Going after big companies like Pernod Ricard is one thing but harassing salt-of-the-earth cocktail blogger types is pretty despicable. c) In my personal opinion Gosling’s dark rum is not particularly nice rum and the standard (lime free) Dark ‘n Stormy™ is, frankly, a bit shit.
Gosling’s are not the only ones at this game as Pusser’s Rum have pulled a similar stunt with the Painkiller. It’s a rum business. While, thankfully still quite rare, such legal shenanigans are not conducive to the general well-being of the drinks industry and, in my opinion, also likely to be counter-productive to the companies involved. I, for one, tend to avoid buying or recommending their products.
The takeaway here is feel free to use any rum you like in your rum and ginger beer drink – just be sure to call it something else and Gosling’s will leave you alone. And put some lime juice in in so that it isn’t sickly sweet. I have a cracking and completely unrelated recipe that everyone seems to love and that I’m categorically not calling a Dark ‘n Stormy™ because I really don’t want to get sued. It’s big on flavour but low-ish on alcohol and uses the weirdly delicious Cruzan Blackstrap rum†. Make it with anything else and my lawyers will be on top of you like a President on a porn star…
Trump & Stormy.
1.5oz Cruzan Blackstrap rum.
0.75oz fresh lime juice.
Stir into an ice filled Collins glass.
Top up with good spicy ginger beer*
Toast Inu Ā Kena – the excellent rum and cocktail blog who fell victim to Goslings’ bully boys.
*There are plenty of options these days. Old Jamaica is great and widely available. Please note that ginger ale, which is similar but milder, doesn’t have the necessary punchiness for this.
†Unfortunately not available in Europe at the moment. Myers’s isn’t quite as nice but will get you close enough and although I’ve not tried it yet Blackwell’s rum is said to be a decent substitute (yes, I was only joking about “my lawyers”).