Want to live on Island Time? A Dark ‘n Stormy is just the ticket
Visualize a plastic bag of a size comparable to that with which you’d outfit a typical kitchen trash bin. Now imagine that bag filled with ganja, and you have a solid idea of what was once, many years ago, offered to me by a young entrepreneur who emerged from the trees while I was doing irreparable damage to a golf course in Jamaica. I was thinking of that round recently, because it featured the most humiliating single stroke I’ve ever played — and brother, that is saying something.
Swings that have rendered me humble were on my mind because in less than 10 days I would tee it up for the first time in roughly 10 years, and I was wondering, give or take, how bad it might be. For the record, I am not someone who has played a handful of rounds over the years and claims to be a serious golfer. I started playing regularly when I was nine years old, and hung up my sticks at the end of the season the year I turned 44. I’m not entirely sure why I stopped playing, I just did.
Now, for some quick, rough math: If I estimate conservatively that I played 30 rounds per year for 35 years, with an average score of 80 (which is probably a few tap-ins low, but I prefer zaftig figures when doing complex equations), that leaves us at 84,000 strokes played in 1,050 rounds. Compared to many players I know, those numbers are small beer. However, even if you aren’t a CPA, they reveal ample opportunity for my wife’s favorite idiot to underperform, hence selection of the godawful isn’t easy.
In the time lapse video that is my brain, thinking about that round in Jamaica led me to contemplate the glories and historical significance of rum, the drink I personally go to when my typical go-tos are feeling a bit old hat. I enjoy rum all the more because it’s my dry powder, if you will, held in reserve for clutch moments. And that is a very nice segue to mentioning that rum probably did more — both good and bad — than any other drink to shape the world we live in. It was a staple for soldiers and sailors for centuries, acting as a diversion (good!) from the endless days of boredom (bad!) that connected the few odd days of mayhem (bad!). Prior to battle (bad!), rum was ladled out as a bracer (good!), and after it was used to celebrate triumph (good!) or dull the pain of disaster (bad!).
Jamaica, of course, is famed for its rum (good!), and its people and land were among those subjugated (very bad!) by world powers when ships of sail still ruled the waves (slow!). It was one of those ships that ran aground on the island that would eventually become known as Bermuda. That was an English number, commissioned by King James I, on her way to the New World to help colonize Jamestown. The squall she encountered (possibly at night) was so fierce it inspired old Bill Shakespeare himself to write The Tempest. Thus, Bermuda’s founding happened on a night that was dark and stormy.
Now, I ask you, have you tried a Dark ’n Stormy, the unofficial drink of Bermuda? A fellow I know is always mentioning them to me, as in, “Enjoy your vacation. Don’t drink too many Dark ’n Stormies.” I confess to you now, friends, that prior to writing the words upon this page I had not drank of the Dark ’n Stormy, heretofore establishing limited partnerships between my rum and cola, and my rum and sugar, lime juice, mint and club soda (a mojito).
I am pleased to report that I am now, as I type, enjoying a second Dark ’n Stormy, and despite its ominous-sounding name, it brings to mind brighter days. It is a fun drink, herewith attaining top billing among Corcoran’s Rum Go-Tos. Speaking of brighter days, it was a blindingly sunny day in Jamaica when that lad appeared from the forest with his bag of cannabis. Despite the stuff’s legal status in many U.S. states these days, I am a lifelong nonsmoker of, well, everything. Unlike a former president who said he didn’t inhale, I simply cannot. Much like my golf swing, I never figured out the necessary mechanics.
My only brush with genuine nobility had occurred a few days prior. After arriving in Jamaica, I boarded a bus that was quickly immobilized amidst teeming Kingston traffic. As I idled along with the bus, I lowered a window for some fresh air, and as I looked out a very tall woman passed slowly by, with several children in tow. She was wearing the paper crown associated with the Burger King, so, clearly, she was the Burger Queen, with the Burger Princes and Princesses following behind. Said I to she through the window, “Hello. Lovely day for a stroll with the royal family.” The Burger Queen smiled upon me, and agreed that it was a fine day. And it was she, those few days later, who stood outside her humble home alongside the golf course, tossing a golf ball patiently up and down in her hand, waiting for the imbecile who had struck it prior to its crashing through her roof and rudely interrupting her day.
“Ha, it’s you,” said her highness.
“So it is,” I said, unsuccessfully masking my mortification.
“Lovely day for a stroll,” she said, handing over the ball and smiling upon me once again.
“So it is,” I said.
My old pal Captain Ron has a million of ’em, and one that frequently pops into my mind is, “When the devil can’t come, he sends rum.”
The gist, at least I think, is that rum can sneak up on you a bit, so treat it with respect. Here’s how to fix up a Dark ’n Stormy proper:
>Highball glass loaded with ice.
>Pour in 4 to 5 oz ginger beer.
>Add 2 oz Goslings Black Seal rum to taste.
>If you feel like it, garnish with a lime wedge.
Goslings comes from Bermuda, not Jamaica, but I don’t have a good story set in Bermuda. If you happen to work for the Bermuda Tourism Board and would care to rectify that, you can find me at the bar at Jimmy’s Corner in New York on most Friday afternoons.
Michael Corcoran doesn’t usually hobnob with royalty, but he did once get lit with a Lord and Lady in England. A story for another day.