It was a Dark and Stormy Night…
February 20, 2016 at 12:15 pm By Chef Eric
Thanks to El Niño, San Francisco has had a lot of dark and stormy nights, which are perfect for drinking Dark and Stormies. At its core, a D&S includes rum, ginger beer, and a touch of lime juice, making it part of the mule family of cocktails. A modern day grocery store has a large variety of great ginger beers to choose from, but what’s the fun in that?
For my D&S I start by making a really intense ginger syrup by combining 1 pound of sugar with 1 pound of chopped, fresh ginger, lime zest, and enough cold water to cover. Bring this to a simmer and let it cook on medium until the liquid reduces and starts to darken, this takes about an hour and you’ll need to keep an eye on it. Remove from heat and strain out the ginger and lime zest. I like to use a potato masher first to get as much flavour out of the ginger as I can. Let your syrup cool, then transfer to a very clean container and store in your fridge.
To build a dark and stormy, load a glass with ice. Pour in some sparkling water followed by a good splash of ginger syrup and a generous pour of rum. What kind of rum is completely up to you. I like to use The Kraken because I get to say, “Release the Kraken” when I open the bottle.
The Awesome Power of Freezing
To finish off the drink I like to add a couple of little touches. First, I freeze lime segments. As they melt they release lime juice so the flavour of my drink changes as time passes.
The other little trick I like to use is to freeze a finger of ginger, then let it thaw. During the freezing process ice crystals expand and shred the cell walls inside the ginger. After it thaws, you can squeeze the ginger, releasing a surprising amount of juice, without any fibrous bits. This is a great way to finish a cocktail. When you take a sip there will be a wonderful aroma of ginger, followed by the spicy rum, and then finishes again with fresh ginger on your lips.
The Even Awesomer Power of Caramelization
To really get the most out of your ginger syrup start by caramelizing the sugar. In a heavy bottom sauce pan, add 2 cups of sugar with a small squirt of corn syrup and a splash of water. Bring this to a boil then carefully cook until the sugar begins to darken. Very carefully add 3 cups of water. It will bubble and spit so stand back. Once the caramel dissolves add one pound of peeled and chopped ginger, along with the juice and zest of two limes. Let this simmer, for about an hour, strain, then store in your fridge.