10 Best Rums For A Cocktail Just Like A Dark 'N' Stormy

Ah, the Dark 'n' Stormy. Who doesn't like this simple yet refreshing cocktail? Liqour.com states it requires only three ingredients (ginger beer, dark rum, and lime), but it's the rum that really makes a difference. Legally a Dark 'n' Stormy must be crafted with Gosling's Black Seal. The brand trademarked the drink back in 1991 and has sued other brands trying to take its place. So, if a cocktail has all the same ingredients but does not include Gosling's Black Seal rum, it's not a real Dark 'n' Stormy. But, maybe, you actually make a Dark and Stormy margarita? In our case, that's exactly what we're looking for. We're all about rum cocktails and curious about which spirits to put in a cocktail that's similar to a Dark 'N' Stormy in flavor (but isn't one), and why they work so well. 

That's why we brought in the experts. Jahdé Marley is a Brooklyn-based sommelier and bartender with a focus on Caribbean rum and on "lesser represented communities, regions, grapes, and fruit ferments." Expanding the knowledge about and access to the field of spirits is especially important due to rum's history. So, we sat down with our expert to get the scoop on the 10 best rums for a cocktail just like a Dark 'n' Stormy.

Bounty Dark

Located in St. Lucia, Bounty Rum first came about in 1972 and uses molasses from the Dominican Republic in its distilling process for some natural flavor. The Bounty Rum Premium Dark is a combination of column and pot-distilled rum aged. These rums are then aged in ex-bourbon casks about three years. The dark rum is also 86 proof, higher than the other rums from the brand, but Marley says it's still a clean sip and ideal for any cocktail that has a lot of texture.

Speaking of cocktails, Marley recommends having fun with mixing when you use this rum. "Don't be afraid to add a dash of pineapple juice to your ginger-lead cocktail as a compliment," says Marley. "Flavors of butterscotch and nutmeg on the nose follow through to the palate." A rum punch mixed with pineapple sounds like a dreamy summer concoction. We're in. It's also only a few steps away from a piña colada, another tropical cocktail that is ideal for relaxing in paradise. 


The Rhum J.M brand was founded in 1845 by a man named Jean-Marie Martin, who also gave his initials to name the rum brand. The distillery, which is located at the foot of the Mt. Pelée volcano on the French Caribbean island of Martinique, has reinvented itself many times over the years. Today it is a leader as a no-waste distillery. The Rhum J.M V.S.O.P., one of the brand's range of rums, is first aged in new American oak for three years before it finishes in both ex-bourbon and French oak casks.

"This is an Agricole rum, which is made from fresh sugar cane in place of molasses," says Marley. "The aging process allows the oak to carry spicy, robust flavors, while the Rhum itself has notes of toffee and spiced butter." The cinnamon in this Agricole rum adds a spice that could be used to make a Sailor's Ale, a play on a Dark 'n' Stormy meets shandy with dark beer, ginger syrup, and lime juice. We're salivating just thinking about it.

Worthy Park 109 Jamaica Rum

Located in Vale of Lluidas in Jamaica, you'll find the Worthy Park Estate, which has been around since 1670. The brand began producing its rum in 1740 with molasses that comes from its own sugar factory. The Worthy Park 109 is a high-proof, pot-still Jamaican rum that is aged in American white oak and ex-bourbon casks. It's a deep shade of red and offers a delicious flavor to the palate: Think banana and pineapple with a hint of vanilla and toffee. 

"This rum is best with cocktails containing multiple ingredients," says Marley. "It allows the layers of flavor to integrate, and sweeter compliments to the dry and smoky palate." Skurnik Wines & Spirits finds this rum works well with any tiki or tropical drinks. Jane Danger of NYC Cuban bar Cienfuegos says mixing a dark, aged rum also makes for a spin on a classic daiquiri made with rum, sugar, and lime (that's it), but adding fruit juice or liqueur can also turn this Jamaican rum into a fun and festive drink. 

Smith & Cross

Smith & Cross is known for its potent pot-still rum from Jamaica. The brand's roots date back to 1788 with historic underground cellars by Thames Street in London. It is made with only Wedderburn and Plummer pot stills that gives the rum a fruity but spicy flavor profile. "This rum is for a more experienced drinker and lovers of the funk," says Marley. "It's best used as the main ingredient in a simple cocktail." 

The Smith & Cross brand recommends a cocktail they call "The Doctor," mixing their rum with Swedish Punsch and lime juice, or the "Million," which consists of lemon and Angostura bitters. Both rum cocktails keep things simple while allowing the spirit to shine. But if you're hankering for some ginger beer to be used in an update on the Dark 'n' Stormy, the Craft Rum Club says this can be done simply by making a daiquiri consisting of Smith & Cross and ginger beer with an orange and juniper infusion. 

Appleton Estate Signature

Appleton Estate's very first rum distillation started in 1749 in Nassau Valley, Jamaica. The landscape is pretty gorgeous, made up of scenic hills and cool caves, but it's not just scenic. The estate's terrain is useful because its water is filtered with limestone, so it's super fresh and clear, helping to make ingredients for its rum taste even smoother.

The Signature rum from Appleton Estates is the very first from the brand and one that continues to impress today. "Its bottling is lean and fruity with notes of peaches and apricot," says Marley. "It is perfect in a citrus-forward, simple drink." And the brand has a perfect, straightforward drink they share on their site: the Jamaican mule. A twist on the Moscow mule, which is typically made with vodka, this version uses Apple Estate Signature rum with ginger beer, lime, and bitters. We have to admit, it sounds pretty close to a Dark 'n' Stormy to us.

Equiano Light

Equiano Rum has a unique history starting with the man who created it. Olaudah Equiano was born in Africa in the mid-1700s and was later enslaved in the Caribbean. He eventually sailed to the United Kingdom where he bought his freedom thanks to selling rum on the side. Today, the Equiano brand prides itself on being the "world's first African and Caribbean rum." The Equiano Light uses sugar cane juice rum from Africa and blends it with rum from the Caribbean that is aged in molasses. "This rum is all about balance and floating flavors," says Marley. "It has notes of vanilla and mango."

This rum is definitely one of the 10 best rums for a cocktail just like a Dark 'n' Stormy, and the brand knows it, as it came up with its take. A similar cocktail, called "Gold and Stormy," uses its rum mixed with ginger beer, lime juice, and wedge for a garnish. 

Mount Gay Black Barrel

Founded in 1703, Mount Gay Rum has been crafting a quality spirit for quite some time, and we love how the brand does rum. The distillery is located in Barbados and uses the tropical breeze to its advantage thanks to what it calls open-air fermentation. The air can transfer the local yeast to help with distillation.

Mount Gay Black Barrel is distilled in a column and double retort pot still to give its bold profile. It is aged in ex-American whiskey casks and later placed in charred ex-bourbon casks to finish. "It's the heavily charred ex-bourbon casks that give the rum such generous weight and flavor," says Marley. "And, you'll find notes of dried fruit and tootsie rolls." With flavors like these, you'll want a drink to enhance them: Mixing this rum with ginger beer for a copycat Dark 'n' Stormy offers a spicy sip that's perfect for the summer months.

Striped Lion Cinnamon

Striped Lion Distilling originated in New Jersey thanks to a husband-and-wife duo who had a flair for good rum. Let's talk about the brand's Striped Lion Cinnamon Rum. It's an interesting bottle made with pure, single rum that has been fermented from molasses and then distilled through real cinnamon sticks. Who doesn't love a rum that is naturally spiced to perfection? "This rum from New Jersey adds just the right amount of spice to a cocktail without overpowering the drink," says Marley. "Try this rum as the main ingredient or as a float in a cocktail." Speaking of, a different take on Dark 'n' Stormy float also comes to mind. 

The Striped Lion brand has many of its own craft rum cocktails, including the house punch. This baby is made with orange, lime, spiced simple syrup, and ginger beer, which we think sounds kind of heavenly, especially when combined with a cinnamon-spiced rum. 

Ten To One Dark Rum

Born and raised in the Caribbean, Marc Farrell knows a thing or two about really good rum. As the founder of Ten To One, he shares his passion for the spirit with the rest of us, and thank goodness for it. We're especially grateful for the Ten To One Dark Rum, which boasts rich flavor that probably has a lot to do with how it's made. It's a combination of column still rums from Barbados and Dominican that are mixed with both a Jamaican pot still rum and Trinidadian rum. It is later aged in American white oak, ex-bourbon casks.

"This is a blend of rum from all around the Caribbean," says Marley. "You can expect notes of dried fruit and leather." Sort of the perfect way to complement the bubbly and spiciness of ginger beer. And we think, a rum blend this flavorful definitely deserves to be on our list of best rums for a cocktail just like a Dark 'n' Stormy.

Chairman's Spiced Rum

The journey of Chairman's Reserve started back in 1931 when its distillery was first founded in the Caribbean island of Saint Lucia. The Chairman's Reserve rum launched in 1999, and the brand has since grown its collection, including Chairman's Reserve Spiced. Coffey and pot stills are used to make this rum, which is then aged in ex-bourbon barrels with spices added in later to give that spicy good flavor.

Marley says that the spices used, including star Bois Bandé bark and cinnamon, help add depth: "The warm flavors, a signature of St. Lucia and the great Caribbean, play a cameo with spicy ginger in dishes and drinks across the region." Flaviar states these spicy components are ideal when adding in some ginger beer and serving over ice. You can always add a squeeze of lime to these same ingredients, which gives you a fun riff on the traditional Dark 'n' Stormy without worrying about being sued.