Did you know that the cocktail you’re drinking might be a copyrighted recipe? Tune in to learn the difference between a Dark + Stormy and a Twilight + Tempestuous, and some other silly things to do with copyrighted and trademarked alcohol.



Study Notes:

*Please note some of these lines might be directly taken from sources noted above.

Trademark Class 33: protects the branding of businesses that create and sell alcoholic beverages such as wine, liquor, and various types of mixed drinks. 


  • Dark n Stormy
    • First registered by Goslings on June 6, 1980 in Bermuda
    • Registered in the US in 1991
    • Only true Dark and Stormies use Goslin’gs Black Seal rum and ginger beer (preferably Goslings) which was created to match the notes in the rum
    • Malcom Gosling Jr (Company CEO) says that the “trademark protects the sanctity of the drink”
    • Doesn’t prevent people from using, say Mount Gay & Fever Tree but it can’t be called a Dark n Stormy
  • Painkiller:
    • A Tiki Classic first mixed by Daphne Henderson at the Soggy Dollar bar on the British Virgin Island of Jost Van Dyke in the 1970s
    • Dark rum, cream of coconut, pineapple and orange juices
    • Pusser’s noticed how popular it was and trademarked it in the 1980s proclaiming that the required pour be Pussers dark rum
    • Bar veterans Giuseppe Gonzalez and Richard Boccato opened up a tiki bar in 2010 in NYC and named it Painkiller, having a drink on the menu of the same name but with different rum
    • Pusser’s sued the bar and they had to remove the drink and change the bar name to PKNY
  • Sazerac:
    • Has the distinction of being the very first cocktail created in New Orelans over 100 years ago
    • Trademarked in 1900
    • Supposed to use Sazerac Rye whiskey who is now owned by Buffalo Trace
    • Cocktail: rye, Peychaud’s bitters, sugar cube and served in a glass that has been washed by Herbsaint and garnished with a lemon peel 
  • Hand Grenade:
    • Available at six Tropical Isle locations (most on Bourbon Street in NO)
    • Drink trademark is about the presentation and delivery method (a neon green grenade)
    • A drink made from rum, juices and a shit ton of sugar
    • Owners offer a $250 reward to anyone who reporters violators or copycats


  • Vueve Cliquot – Pantone 137C (protected under a EU trademark)
    • No other producer of sparkling wine is permitted to use that shade on bottles sold in the EU
    • Claimed that Ciro Picariello label color is too similar


A copyright is a form of legal protection granted by federal law that protects tangible “works of authorship”
United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) “a trademark includes any word, name, symbol, devise, or any combination, used or intended to be used to identify and distinguish the goods/services of one seller or provider from those of others, and to indicate the source of the goods/services.”