The Dark ’n Stormy is a beloved classic cocktail for its sweet and refreshing characteristics with a backdrop of subtle heat, especially when using a particularly peppery ginger beer like Goyan Jamaican Style Ginger beer. However, if you want your Dark ’n Stormy to have even more heat, than the appropriately named Dracarys is a good place to start.
The drink is named for the command word that Daenerys Targaryen, Mother of Dragons, uses to direct her winged, scaly “children” to unleash their fire breath in the seminal HBO program “Game of Thrones.” This spicy riff on a Dark ’n Stormy kind of replicates that fire breathing when imbibed, says Jenn Harvey, the bar manager at Temple Bar in Cambridge, Massachusetts. “While too much spice tends to kill people’s palates, this cocktail has an initial gentle heat that builds as you drink it, ultimately leading one to breath fire.”
Dracarys gets most of its spicy kick from an ancho chile-infused bourbon. Unlike some infusions, this one is pretty simple, easy enough to do at home with just a liter bottle of bourbon or a liter jar. Ancho chiles offer a modest but assertive level of heat, one that can be enhanced by using a high rye bourbon, which has a spicier profile than most other bourbons. Because of the intensity of the infusion, you may want to save the top-shelf bourbons for a different drink, but that doesn’t mean you can go too cheap without it coming through. A good workhorse bourbon around the $20 to $25 range is generally going to work well. And, of course, those wanting to really mimic the draconic conflagration could substitute an ever hotter pepper, but that could potentially overwhelm all the other aspects of the drink.
Amaro Montenegro adds some sweetness, bitterness and herbal notes to the Dracarys. A well-regarded amaro, it’s made with a blend of 40 botanicals from four different continents, and while it mixes beautifully in drinks, it’s also lovely on its own as an after-dinner libation. Harvey uses Llanllyr Source Fiery for the ginger beer portion of the highball. A good level of sweetness and a hefty kick of spice complement the chile, but if needed it can be substituted with any of the other high quality ginger beers on the market today, many of which are even available online.
Pour all the ingredients into a double Old Fashioned glass with ice and stir.
Garnish with a lime wheel.
*Ancho-chile-infused bourbon: Slice up 3 large ancho chiles and place them into a jar along with 1 liter bourbon. Let set for 24 hours, then strain out solids.