I keep trying to love that classic cocktail, The Dark and Stormy. Perhaps it’s my lack of Gosling’s Dark Rum, or my lackluster appreciation for rum in general that does it, but The Dark and Stormy’s combination of dark rum, lime and ginger beer has yet to win me over. To me, The Dark and Stormy just tastes like a Cuba Libre with a bad attitude.
But the remainder of that rather expensive four-pack of artisan Ginger Beer wasn’t about to drink itself, so I decided to tinker with some things and see if I could come up with a Dark and Stormy variant I could embrace.
Oh boy, have I.
By swapping the rum for brandy (the most versatile and most underrated cocktail base), and bringing in a sharp citrus kick and a some homemade Boiled Apple Cider sweetness, I’ve come up with a drink that is dangerously yummy.
The homemade/homegrown element in this drink is Boiled Cider Syrup, an old-time preserve that is now regrettably obscure. Boiled Cider is the result of reducing apple cider down until it’s the thickness of maple syrup. It’s concentrated – that’s the point – so a little bit adds a lot of sweet-tart apple flavor to baked goods, sauces, pancakes and the like.
With the brandy and the dry ginger beer, the balanced apple flavor is swoon-worthy.
Until I thought to use my Boiled Cider in this cocktail, my favorite use for this preserve was as a fast sauce for pan-roasted pork. A 4-oz. jar of boiled cider and a bit of Braggs Apple Cider Vinegar added to the cast iron skillet that has just seared a pork tenderloin is an instant, easy way to bump the dinner sophistication level.
If you don’t have Boiled Cider, you can make some with a gallon of store-bought apple cider, or consider adding it to your preserve list for Fall, 2014. It’s a lovely treat. You can also substitute half apple juice and half maple syrup for this cocktail. The result won’t be quite the same, but it won’t suck.
The addition of an apple product means I can show some Washington State Pride and name this drink for the weather of my hometown. So, The Dark and Drizzly it is.
The Dark and Drizzly
- 1.5 oz Brandy (The cheap American stuff is just fine for mixed drinks – we use Paul Masson)
- 1 oz freshly squeezed lemon juice (juice of half a large lemon)
- 1 oz Boiled Cider Syrup
- 2 oz. Ginger Beer (Not the same as ginger ale, but not typically alcoholic, either. Well stocked Yuppie-hippie markets should carry real Ginger Beer, or here’s a recipe to DIY your own from one of my favorite booze-nerds.)
Fill a highball or small water glass with crushed ice. Add the brandy, lemon juice and boiled cider to the glass and stir with a bar spoon. Top with ginger beer and stir just to combine. Serve right away.
Enjoy responsibly. Cheers and happy weekend friends!1
Le Femme Farmer says
OMG! I’m reading this at 7:00 am and trying to figure out how early is “too early” for a cocktail! This sounds sooooo yummy. Hopping in the shower RIGHT NOW to get cider and ginger beer. I don’t want to be late cocktail hour!
I have never heard of Apple Cider Syrup and that makes me sad. All these years I could have been enjoying it, wasted!
I just started following your blog and I am excited to see what other amazing things I discover.
I understand the dislike of rum (not me, I love the stuff) but may I recommend that, should anyone like to try a Dark and Stormy, please try it with Blenheim Ginger Beer and Goslings? That beer is mad spicy, and Goslings is essential. Give it a try.
I love the idea of the apple cider syrup, Erica. I’ve never tried that, but I’m a big fan of concentrating fruit flavors with slow cooking and reduction. I make thick fruit purees that I freeze for use on oatmeal. My fave is mango, but I do a mean blueberry too
I get it about the Dark and Stormies….ginger, check. rum, check. lime, check again, but when they all come together….euuuuw….medicinal. I’m going to pick up a gallon of cider tomorrow and make syrup. Then I’ll try this thing again. Thanks for the inspiration. Love your blog!
We got married in Bermuda in 2007 and drank LOTS of Dark and Stormies – I think they’re better on the pink sand beaches 🙂 . They didn’t really grow on me though and I love the idea of apple cider syrup…
I’m completely fascinated by the boiled cider syrup – adding that to my list of ‘must try’s for sure! Hopefully I won’t have to wait til sometime this summer to try the ‘Dark & Drizzly’ because today would be a perfect day to whip up a bunch of these – we are certainly under a dark & down-pouring cloud of spring!!
We just made these last weekend. The first batch was before we could boil down the cider into syrup and the second was with our first batch of cider syrup. Batch #2 definitely won out. We almost always have ginger beer around for Moscow Mules, and this is a great twist. I’m not a Brandy kind of guy, but it works and I’ve started to use the brandy to deglaze when cooking to nice effect.