History Of The Dark ‘N Stormy
The history of the Dark ‘N Stormy begins on June 9, 1980, when the United States patent office awarded Gosling Brothers Limited, trademark SN 73-705,138, to the name Dark ‘N Stormy. This trademark secured the name Dark ‘N Stormy to Gosling in the case of any pre-mixed alcoholic cocktails using gum and ginger beer. This was not the first time ginger beer and rum were mixed together into a drink. Anthropological studies of islands in the Caribbean found this was a common drink, and recipes can’t be trademarked or patented. (Technically, a recipe could be patented, but it’s so incredibly rare it almost never happens. The USPTO won’t even grant Coca-Cola a patent to the Coke recipe.) What Gosling did was trademark just the name Dark ‘N Stormy and, thus, how it is used.
Soon after, Bermuda changed its official drink from the Rum Swizzle to the trademarked Dark ‘N Stormy. Probably because Gosling is the island’s largest exporter and a large chunk of the island’s economy, but it could be for other reasons. The cocktail proved wildly popular in the island’s boating community, and by word of mouth and marketing, the name stuck. If you walk into a bar today and order a Cuba Libre, the bartender may know what you are talking about and correct you with, “Oh, a rum and coke.” On the other hand, if you walk into a bar today and order a rum and ginger beer, the bartender will correct you with “Oh, a Dark ‘N Stormy.”
Again, I believe the trademark for Dark ‘N Stormy only applies to alcohol and mixers a company sells. For example, Bacardi can’t advertise their rum for making a Dark ‘N Stormy, but I don’t want to take the chance and get in anyone’s crosshairs. So a Dark ‘N Stormy should only be made with Gosling Black Seal Rum, but a rum and ginger beer can be made with any dark rum.
- 1977 Anthropological Studies of Cat Island, the Bahamas
- March 1982 Yachting Magazine
- 1991 Gazette of the United States Patent and Trademark Office
- 1992 Birnbaum’s Bermuda – Birnbaum
- 2000 The Official Harvard Student Agencies Bartending Course