This is a fun light read if you have the time….
To say the Dark ‘n Stormy is an effortless cocktail is almost an understatement. Fill a glass with ice. Top with ginger beer. Float in 1.5 ounces of rum. Perhaps add a squeeze of lime, if you’re feeling extravagant.
But the breezy beach cocktail is surprisingly litigious.
Goslings Rum holds ownership over the name thanks to a trademark dating back 40 years today. If a Dark ‘n Stormy appears on a menu with any other rum than Goslings Black Seal Rum, the offending bar can face legal consequences.
It sounds extreme?—how is a cocktail trademarked?
Essentially, brands like Goslings are using trademark law to effectively gain intellectual property rights over recipes.
“The goal of the trademark is to protect the reputation and ensure taste consistency of the Dark ‘n Stormy,” explains Malcolm Gosling Jr., an 8th-generation rum producer. “Being a family business for over 200 years, we’ve always promoted the authenticity of our products, and it’s important that a Dark ‘n Stormy be made in the proper way to ensure that the bartender is recreating the intended taste experience.”
The brand declares that the mission of the legalese is to protect the provenance of the drink from cocktail copycats. “Goslings Black Seal Rum has such a unique taste, that if another rum is substituted, the result is an entirely different cocktail!” The trademark was first registered by the brand in Bermuda on June 9, 1980 and in the U.S. in 1991.