It seems that every place I visit has a special wine, beer or cocktail for which it is famous. Islands tend to have a higher concentration of liquid refreshments, but few have I enjoyed as much as the official, unofficial national drinks of Bermuda – The Rum Swizzle and the Dark ‘N’ Stormy.
Bermuda has a long history of rum, it started back in 1850 with Gosling’s Rum. One of the earliest purveyors of alcoholic beverages, the very first one actually, Gosling’s has come to define rum in Bermuda and is part of just about every local tradition, especially the cocktails.
My first introduction to their famous cocktails was at a reception on the dock of the Waterlot Inn; a 350-year old establishment still known as one of the best restaurants on the island. I was there on a trip as the guest of Bermuda Tourism and they wanted to make sure I didn’t miss any of the island’s favorite drinks.
I sampled the two featured drinks several times over the weekend; they seemed to be served everywhere. The Dark ‘N’ Stormy is actually trademarked by Gosling’s and consists of Gosling’s Black Seal Rum and ginger beer over ice. The name is said to have originated when an old salt observed that the drink was the “color of a cloud only a fool or dead man would sail under.” The best version I enjoyed was mixed by one of Gosling’s finest ambassadors as he educated me about the finer points of rum consumption. It’s a light drink that is refreshing and definitely easy to drink. Even more classically Bermudian though is the Rum Swizzle.
The antecedents of the Swizzle are as old as cocktail making itself and while several islands lay claim to a form of the drink, the original Rum Swizzle can only be found on Bermuda. The drink that gave name to the swizzle stick, the beverage is a simple mix of rum and fruit juice. On my last day on the island I had lunch at the Swizzle Inn, the self-proclaimed purveyor of the best Swizzles on the island where they mixed their first drink in 1932. I love the combination of the fruit flavors and rum, a tropical kick in the pants. Sitting on the balcony of the restaurant, sipping the Swizzle while chatting with friends was one of my favorite moments on the island.
You don’t necessarily have to visit Bermuda though to try these drinks for yourself. They’re pretty easy to make and I was lucky enough to get a Gosling’s employee to share the recipes with me. So go, enjoy a drink on your own back porch and capture that laid-back island spirit for yourself.
Dark ‘N’ Stormy
Into a tall glass filled with ice, put 6 oz of Gosling’s Stormy Ginger Beer and float 2 oz of Gosling’s Black Seal Rum on top. Stir until it looks like a storm cloud. Optional garnish Lime Wedge.
Bermuda Rum Swizzle
The island’s national drink; everyone has at least one, which leads to another. Traditionally frothed with a Bermuda swizzle stick, cut from an allspice bush that ends in three prongs.
- 1 oz Gosling’s Black Seal Rum
- 1 oz Gosling’s Gold Bermuda Rum
- 2 oz orange juice
- 2 oz pineapple juice
- dash Grenadine
- dash Angostura bitters
- Orange slice, fresh pineapple and a maraschino cherry for garnish
Churn together all of the ingredients with a swizzle stick until foamy; pour into a double old-fashioned glass filled with ice. Garnish with a half slice of orange, stick of pineapple and a maraschino cherry.