Now that the swampy, soupy weather has officially arrived, it’s time to share a few heartfelt words about something near and dear to our hearts: the evening drink. When we got married, someone gave us one of those full-on Pottery Barn cocktail kits, the ones that come with the ten-gallon martini glasses and silver-plated shaker, stirrer, strainer, tongs, and beveled serving tray. Twelve years later, it’s still in the box. In the basement. Under piles of baby clothes and bank receipts we have yet to shred. That’s not because we don’t drink; with a 6-year-old and a 8-year-old underfoot, there’s nothing—and this is going to sound bad, but really: nuh-thing—we enjoy more than a taste of medicine at the end of a long day. The truth is, we’ve never busted it out because we’re not fans of the fussy drink. We don’t believe in cocktail hardware, and we don’t believe that having people over for dinner should include said people being forced to sit in your kitchen for twenty minutes, watching you craft a cocktail from fresh-squeezed kaffir limes, muddled mint leaves, and turbinado sugar. We tend to follow a pretty straight-up philosophy on food, a philosophy that also happens to apply cocktails: few ingredients, good ingredients, simple preparation.
Which brings us to the Dark and Stormy.
Having not grown up with a yacht, a family compound on the Vineyard, or a Roman numeral after my name, I had no idea this drink even existed for the first thirty-three years of my life. And can I tell you how I now mourn for those years? The Dark and Stormy is everything a cocktail should be: damned tasty, of course, but also fizzy, cold, summery, citrusy, and very, very easy to make.
Here’s how. Get a decent-size highball glass and pack it full of ice. Now fill that glass halfway with some good dark rum. (We use fifteen-year-old El Dorado from Guyana or the equally good Zaya from Guatemala. And there is always Gosling’s.) Then—and this part is crucial—top it off with real ginger beer, as opposed to standard-issue ginger ale, which tends to be wan and sugary and overly carbonated. (We used to use Reed’s Extra Ginger Brew, but we’ve recently switched to Regatta, which is a little less sweet and even more gingery and hails from Bermuda, where they know from cocktails.) Finally, the lime. Don’t skimp on the lime! We love the way it balances the sweetness and spice of the rum and the ginger beer. Squeeze two wedges into the glass and discard. Take your third wedge, squeeze it, run the fleshy part once around the rim of the glass, and drop it in. Give a quick stir with your knife. Now partake of the Dark and Stormy. Summer is upon us.
*If you’ve never heard it, check out this song by the Drive By Truckers. The lyrics say it all. “Put that drinking jacket on and enjoy a little fog.”