On Her Majesty’s Yacht
Last year saw the queen’s passing, and some of us slogged through the cringe-worthy Netflix mini-series Harry & Meghan. And the attention-grabbing couple hasn’t slowed down: Harry’s book Spare has topped best-seller lists. In January alone, the New York Times featured sixteen articles about the royals. Sixteen!
(Nowadays, Le Sergent Recruteur is one of my favorite Michelin-starred restaurants, where I took these pictures, and where the kind bartender recently made me a Dark and Stormy.)
Hi! I’m Allison, and I’m an Edutainer working in French food, culture, history, and art. If you’re a gastro-curious traveler or learner, I’m here to show you the A to Z of French food and culture!
French West Indies
I was so excited I raised both hands! But when I did, I sold my soul to the diable: in exchange for going on the program I had to declare French as my major. I’m guessing there are worse deals.
Very white men
The royal yacht
Dark and Stormy, without the heels
Just one tip based on personal experience with drinking cocktails on a yacht: avoid the combination of Dark and Stormy, 3-inch heels, and a steep gangplank!
Dark and Stormy
“Dark ‘n Stormy” is a cocktail trademarked by Gosling, the company which established its rum-producing business in Bermuda in 1806. In the late 19th century, as rumor would have it, an English-style ginger beer bottling plant opened in Bermuda exclusively for Royal Navy members’ consumption.
This is a recipe in two parts, which is simplified quite easily by buying ginger beer, now available in most supermarkets. It used to be that Old Jamaica was the most widely-available brand of ginger beer, but here in Paris it’s now easy to find French brands like Gingeur or La French SVP.
If you want to experiment instead of using commercial ginger beer, try this recipe for a tingly “ginger potion” which comes highly recommended by a singer friend of mine who makes it and then and drinks it on its own before gigs to soothe and prime her throat.
- plenty of ice cubes
- zest and juice from ½ lime, separated (or to taste; less if using ginger potion recipe below)
- 9 ounces (270 ml) ginger potion OR commercially available ginger beer
- 3 healthy dashes Angostura bitters (optional)
- 3 ounces (90 ml) amber, dark, or black rum
- lime wheels or wedges for decor and metal or bamboo straws
for the ginger potion:
- 3 tablespoons peeled, grated ginger root (approx. one 4-inch piece)
- zest and juice from ½ lime
- 3 cloves
- 5 green cardamom pods
- ¼ cup (about 60 g) raw cane sugar (also sold as turbinado or demerara sugar)
- 1-inch piece of vanilla bean
- 1 cup (240 ml) boiling water
- 1 cup (240 ml) soda water, club soda, or sparkling water
special equipment: a clean jar or other wide-mouthed container which can be closed tightly
- A day before you want to make the cocktail, make the ginger potion. Put the grated ginger root into the jar. Add the lime zest and juice, cloves, cardamom pods, and sugar.
- Using a knife or scissors, split the vanilla bean lengthwise on one side. Open it up, and scrape all the sticky vanilla seeds into the jar. Some of the vanilla will stick to your fingers, so try to get as much of that into the jar. Then throw in the cleaned-out vanilla bean with the rest of the ingredients.
- Add the boiling water, let cool slightly, and then close the jar. Let the potion cool in a sunny place if possible, shaking the jar occasionally to mix the ingredients. When cool, transfer the jar to the refrigerator and let the ingredients macerate overnight.
- The following day, strain the ginger potion into a pitcher with a top and keep refrigerated. When you’re ready to serve it, add the sparkling, soda, or tonic water.
- To mix the cocktail, fill a highball glass to the top with ice cubes. (And if you want to nerd out on ice, check out 52 Martinis’ home hacks and tips for better cocktail ice here.)
- Pour in the lime juice (reserve the zest), the ginger potion or beer, and the bitters if using them.
- Finally, pour the rum over the other ingredients carefully, to make a layered effect. Some of the rum will seep down into the other ingredients, creating a swirled effect not unlike storm clouds… Voilà, the name of the drink!
- Decorate with a sprinkling of the lime zest, lime wheels or wedges for decor and metal or bamboo straws (read here to find out why single-use plastics are being systematically phased out in France since 2021). Bonne dégustation!
for 2 cocktails; ginger potion recipe makes 2 cups (about 470 ml)