Lately my drink of choice has been the Dark and Stormy. Actually, I can’t get enough of any combination of spicy/strongly flavored spirits mixed with my beloved ginger beer. From the Honey Buck to the Dark and Stormy it’s my preferred cocktail for nights out at restaurants to afternoons spent relaxing on the porch, and everything in between.
I made an impulse decision a few weeks ago to buy a bunch of scuppernongs. The season is fleeting and I knew I’d find a way to use them that would make the most of this local favorite. After much deliberation (read: procrastination) I threw them, whole, into a pot to simmer with brown sugar, a little lemon juice, and water. They boiled down and down and down until I had a lovely dark brown simple syrup. When I tasted it everything clicked- what the syrup really needed was some black spiced rum and a splash of ginger beer. Of course.
What can I say, I just do what the syrup demands. Twist my arm! I filled my mixer with fresh lime juice, a few glugs of Kraken, and my syrup. Topped off with Reed’s Extra Ginger Beer (is there anything better? I’m not sure), and I had invented my new favorite drink, the Stormy Scuppernong.
2 cups fresh scuppernong grapes
1 cup brown sugar
3 cups water
1 tsp vanilla extract
Juice of 1 lemon
cocktail (serves 2):
3 jiggers black spiced rum
2 jiggers scuppernong syrup
1 bottle ginger beer
To make the syrup combine all ingredients over low heat. Simmer, stirring occasionally, for 1 hour, or until grapes have burst. Press through a fine mesh strainer. If the syrup is too thick to pour, whisk in a bit of water until it is the desired consistency. Chill.
To mix your cocktail combine rum, lime juice, and syrup in a mixer with a handful of ice. Shake well. Strain and pour into your serving glasses. Top with ginger beer. Serve and enjoy!