Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Boat Drinks

I thought I'd take this lull in the sports calendar to share some good news with you -- I'm getting a lot more enjoyment out of my summertime alcohol consumption than I used to, thanks largely to a very rewarding fling with rum.

I've always been good for a cocktail or two on a fairly regular (i.e., daily) basis, but my libation of choice has usually been beer or some kind of scotch whiskey (usually Dewar's). There's a lot to be said for scotch, but let's face it, it's nobody's idea of a refreshing hot weather drink. As for beer, well, when you're as big as I am and you've been drinking for as long as I have, you've got to consume enough to float a battleship to see any improvement in your mood.

I've recently rediscovered demon rum, and I must say that it's dramatically improved the quality of my summer buzz. For years, I stayed away from rum. I once saw a buddy of mine get second degree burns from drinking flaming shots of 151 proof rum. That experience kind of scared me off of "macho" rum drinks, and I wasn't confident enough of my masculinity to drink most other rum based concoctions, all too many of which come with a parasol stuck into them.

I decided to give rum another chance after reading a magazine article about bars that Ernest Hemingway used to frequent in Cuba. In that article, I discovered that Papa's favorite cocktails were the Daquiri and the Mojito. This wasn't the kind of drinking that I expected from the author of stories like The Killers, but it did prompt me to start rethinking my position on rum.

While I was willing to give rum another try, I wasn't going to go down the Mai Tai or Zombie path. Those drinks just have too much crap in them. I'm not looking for a drink that has 10 ingredients in it and takes 20 minutes to make. Also, I have an iron-clad "no blender" policy. In the summer, I want boat drinks minus the parasol.

The recent resurgence of the Mojito gave me the cover I needed to give rum another shot, so to speak. Yeah, it wasn't the most macho cocktail in the world, but since everybody else in North America was drinking Mojitos, I thought I could safely give one a try. I don't typically like sweet drinks, but I did like this one. It looked a little fruity with the mint and limes all over the place, but it was really refreshing and, with several ounces of alcohol in it, proved to be an extremely efficient mood elevator.

More recently, however, I've expanded my rum repertoire. A couple of weeks ago, I was at a soiree at a more sophisticated local watering hole than I'm accustomed to frequenting. The bartender was pushing a rum-based concoction that I'd never tried before. It was awesome. I asked what it was, and she told me that it was something called a "Dark 'n Stormy." For my money, it's close to a perfect summer drink. It's not too sweet, but goes down real easy and--like most rum drinks-- packs a wallop.

A little internet research led me to discover several things about this drink. First, I found out that I'm about a year behind the Dark 'n Stormy cocktail trend, which comes as no surprise to me. The second thing I learned is that this drink is sort of Bermuda's national cocktail. (You've got to love a country with a national cocktail. Good for you, Bermuda. This almost makes up for the shorts.) Finally, the most important thing I found out is that the recipe is ridiculously simple--it's a classic boat drink, just dark rum and ginger beer. In fact, the toughest thing about the drink is finding the ginger beer.

I guess the simplicity of the recipe wasn't the last thing I found out about this drink. I also discovered that the name "Dark 'n Stormy" is a registered trademark of Gosling's Rum in Hamilton Bermuda, and is only supposed to be made with their product, which is notoriously hard to get.

Hard to get, that is, unless you live in Hudson, Ohio, where the state store inside the local Acme has an ample supply of Goslings Black Seal Rum. God bless Acme, they even had ginger beer in stock.

So, while you guys have been sweating out the heat, I've been holding up just fine, thank you very much. My favorite new boat drink is keeping me cool. Heck, it even made the Antichrist's coverage of the All-Star game seem interesting. Okay, that's a lie, but it did make it easier to endure him.



Anonymous said...

Your Antichrist looks (and sounds) an awful lot like our Sherman McCoy, with good hair.

Hornless Rhino said...

There's more than a passing resemblance, isn't there?

Hardaway Hates Pittsburgh said...

I've been drinking Mojitos for a few years now, but only because I'm not in Cleveland. I can't even imagine the beating I would receive if I tried to order one of those things at the Harry Buffalo. Hemingway drinking them definitely justified me drinking them too, even if they do taste like strong mouthwash (with a hint of lime).

chocolate starfish said...

I was with Hornless at that nice establishment and enjoyed a "Dark and Stormy" or three as well ... tasty and refreshing ... but not nearly as mood and otherwise elevating as the tasty little minx who was serving them to us ... I'm moving to Hudson if Acme sells blow up dolls of this enchanting little bartendress ...she made my ginger beer fizzy.

Rich said...

I'll have to try that Rhino, Im a rum guy myself.

Great blog entry.

Dwayne Rudd said...

For us newbies: Do you get alcoholic Ginger Beer? Wikipedia makes it sound like the standard, but all I can find is the non-alcoholic.

Hornless Rhino said...


Nope, I used non-alcoholic ginger beer.

Barritt's Ginger Beer, which is part of Gosling's trademarked recipe, is non-alcoholic. Reed's Ginger Brew, which is also mentioned as a popular alternative in the Wikipedia entry for this drink, is also non-alcoholic.

I found Reed's in Northeast Ohio, and I also found Saranac Ginger Beer. Reed's is made in Jamaica. Saranac is made here and is cheaper but still makes a tasty drink.