Lighten Up Your Next Dark And Stormy With A Ginger Ale Swap

When it comes to classic cocktails, the dark and stormy is a perfect option for those who enjoy drinks with strong flavors. The combination of dark rum, potent ginger beer, tangy lime, and astringent bitters forms a layered and complex flavor experience that easily pleases sophisticated palates. However, if you are newer to cocktails or if you simply like a gentler beverage, you may struggle to enjoy it. If that is the case, there is one quick way to tame this punchy drink — just substitute the ginger beer for ginger ale.

Though similar in name, there is a notable difference between ginger beer and ginger ale. The more familiar of the two is typically ginger ale — a non-alcoholic ginger soda with a crisp, sweet ginger flavor. Meanwhile, ginger beer is a fermented ginger beverage that may or may not be slightly alcoholic and has a very intense ginger flavor. A dark and stormy cocktail is traditionally made with the latter, which is a large part of why it has such a strong taste. By switching out ginger beer for ginger ale, you will make your dark and stormy milder and less overwhelming, allowing you to better appreciate some of the other flavors the drink has to offer.

Find the perfect ginger ale for your preferences

The real key to making this substitution is to select a high-quality ginger ale. Just because ginger ale is less spicy than ginger beer does not mean it should be completely bland. Look for a ginger ale made with real ginger to ensure a crisp and balanced taste that still has some complexity, albeit less intensity. For help picking out a favorite, check out our ranking of the 14 best and worst ginger ales.

This is also an opportunity to get playful by opting for a ginger ale that is made with added flavors. Try a citrus ginger ale for an extra tangy cocktail, or a ginger ale infused with florals like jasmine blossoms for an extra delicate twist. Don't be afraid to get creative with mix-ins, either, like adding a bit of mint for a more pronounced herbal flavor, or finishing the drink off with a float of pineapple juice for added sweetness.