Not to brag, but I was truly at the vanguard of the current cocktail (often mistakenly referred to as martinis) renaissance. Seriously, I was becoming focused on mixology almost 20 years ago, when most people were still barely aware of craft beers. As a result, I have been, at times, more than a bit pedantic about cocktails, and more than a bit of a snob about what I will and will not drink. Despite growing up surrounded by male relatives who, to my young mind, seemed to be fueled by gin and tonic, I rarely, if ever, have mixed drinks if the option exists to have a cocktail.
However, of late, I have become increasingly interested in “bucks”, often called mules. These are mixed drinks made specifically with ginger ale or ginger beer, citrus, and hard liquor. Blame my budding curiosity on relentlessly scorching heat and laziness when it comes to cranking out an endless supply of mint juleps.
But, ever shackled to my cocktail roots, I find myself rarely able to simply order a Moscow mule, or a dark ‘n’ stormy without trying to put my own twist onto it to “up the ante”.
My current obsession is a varient on the dark ‘n’ stormy which began with a particularly good one I had at a very fine restaurant in Telluride Colorado about a month ago.
My version goes like this:
- Gosling’s Black Seal Rum 
- Canton ginger liqueur
- Reed’s “Extra Ginger Brew” ginger beer
- slice of lime
- sprig of mint
I would say 3:1 with the rum and liqueur. Ratio of those combined to ginger beer is predominantly to taste, but the goal is something which has the perfect balance of sharp ginger bite to soft rum sweetness. I include Canton in addition to Reed’s “extra” ginger beer because pre-bottled ginger beer just isn’t as strong as freshly made. If you can get ahold of properly fresh ginger beer, then you can just make dark ‘n’ stormy’s and not worry about the rest.
Muddle the lime and the mint. Pour the spirits over the muddle. Pour on soda. This order of operations should allow you to avoid any need to mix with a spoon or straw, which drives out a lot of carbonation. Add ice last, as it gets in the way of the combinatorics — just don’t forget to leave room in the glass. An iced tea glass is ideal for this, but a high ball will do just fine.
 This is my go to rum of choice unless you absolutely have to have clear rum for something like a mojito. Gosling’s is cheap, readily available, and has a very soft, round flavor which is neither exclusively sweet, nor exclusively spiced. I prefer it to all but the most premium of dark rums — which I can’t afford to make cocktails with.