The tradition of rum and the sea has a long history, one that continues today at clubs and pubs that serve the sport. Certain rum drinks have a history too…
In the spring of 1806, James Gosling, the oldest son of wine and spirits merchant William Gosling, set out from Gravesend (Kent) England on the ship Mercury bound for America. But after 91 days on the sea, the charter expired and the ship put in at the nearest port, St. George’s, Bermuda.
By 1860 the Goslings created their branded dark rum – Black Seal. They didn’t call it Black Seal at first, in fact, up until the First World War it was sold from a barrel. People just brought in their old bottles for a fill-up, a fill up of old rum. Eventually, though, the black rum was sold in champagne bottles reclaimed from the British officer’s mess and the corks were sealed with black sealing wax. Pretty soon people began to ask for Black Seal.
So the story goes sometime after World War 1, the Dark ‘n Stormy was born. It has its origins in a Ginger Beer factory that was run by the Royal Naval Officer’s Club. The sailors soon discovered that a hefty splash of the local Gosling’s Black Seal rum was a great addition to the Ginger Beer.
As for the name the Dark ‘n Stormy, it was coined by a sailor who, while enjoying the cocktail, commented that it was the color of a cloud only a fool or a dead man would sail under.
As you can’t patent a drink recipe, you can trademark a name and that’s what Goslings did with the Dark ‘n Stormy. Kind of like what Pusser’s Rum did with their Painkiller cocktail. So if you make a Dark ‘n Stormy with anything other than Gosling’s dark rum, you’re breaking the law.