Shondor’s Swizzle

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Ah, the swizzle! A classic cocktail with a fascinating history. It is believed to have originated in the Caribbean during the late 18th or early 19th century. Its exact birthplace is often attributed to the island of Barbados, which has a rich history of rum production and mixology.

The term “swizzle” is derived from the swizzle stick, a special tool used to mix and cool the drink. It is traditionally made from a branch of the Quararibea turbinata tree, known locally as “bois lele” or “swizzle stick tree.” This unique tool is essential for the cocktail and helps to create its distinctive presentation.

The early versions of the swizzle were relatively simple and consisted of rum, sugar, and some form of citrus juice (usually lime or lemon). The drink was initially made without the crushed ice that we associate with modern swizzles. Instead, bartenders would use the swizzle stick to agitate the mixture, creating a frothy texture and mixing the ingredients thoroughly.

Over time new variations emerged. Some bartenders started incorporating other tropical fruit juices, such as pineapple or passion fruit, to enhance the flavor profile. The use of crushed ice also became more common, adding a refreshing twist and visually appealing cocktail, especially in the warm Caribbean climate.

It’s popularity grew throughout the 19th and 20th centuries, spreading beyond the Caribbean to become a favorite in tiki bars and tropical-themed establishments worldwide.

Here we created a bourbon-based recipe using our Wheat Penny 1958 Bourbon some honey syrup and some lovely citrus juices. We didn’t have a branch from the Quararibea turbinata tree handy so we swizzled with a blue and green swirled paper straw. So Tropical, so swizzley. If swizzle hasn’t been a verb in your life, give it a try!