Happy Friday everyone! We like Fridays here at the farm, and the best thing about them is they happen every week….So now that the weekend is here and the forecast is for sunny skies and 80 degrees, what to drink? When the sun is out we tend to look towards gin, rum and long drinks. G n T or a Collins? Great, but we have been there (and will continue to do that). Tiki? Awesome, but often complicated. Punch? Always good, but then we have to throw a party (a good excuse, btw). But how about a Swizzle? Now that is something worth exploring…
What’s a swizzle? Basically it is a rum-based cocktail (almost always, although Chartreuse swizzles are very tasty) served with crushed ice that is then vigorously stirred or “swizzled” using a spoon or “swizzle stick”. When you swizzle the cocktail a nice layer of frost forms on the outside, and the drink itself gets very, very cold. Popular in the Caribbean, swizzles are meant for long, lazy sipping on hot days.
There are all sorts of swizzle recipes out there, but this one, The Queen’s Park Swizzle, is one of our favorites. A combination of mint, Demerara rum (we add some aged Jamaican rum), lime juice, sugar syrup and bitters, the Queen’s Park Swizzle is a simple, smooth and flavorful drink. It is also very strong, with almost double the normal amount of booze, but these drinks are meant to be nursed over time. As it is, we usually have only one (and if we had two we probably wouldn’t remember anyway).
The one surprise about the Queen’s Park Swizzle is the flavor. You might expect a big bold drink, but instead you get soft, mellow flavors. You get a big whiff of mint from the garnish, followed by a sweet, rich rum sip with just a touch of the lime, mint and bitters. This is really a rum drink, with the other players in supporting roles. Demerara rum (we use El Dorado 3yr old here), with its smoky flavors is the traditional choice for this cocktail, but we add the aged Jamaican for a little more funk and vanilla notes.
As for the history of this cocktail, the recipe supposedly comes from the (now closed) Queen’s Park hotel in Trinidad. Some say this was one of the first swizzles, but like most things in cocktail history, the facts are a bit fuzzy. Pretty much everyone in the hemisphere had rum, sugar, limes and bitters. Most people had readily available ice by 1900, and they all know how to stir. So maybe this was the first swizzle, maybe it wasn’t. We just know the Queen’s Park Swizzle is our first choice when we swizzle….now we just need to swizzle more often…;-)
- 8-10 mint leaves (plus more for garnish)
- 2 oz. Demerara rum (or use 3 oz. and omit the Jamaican rum)
- 1 oz. aged Jamaican rum (optional)
- 1/2 oz. rich simple syrup (2 to 1 sugar to water)
- 1/2 oz lime juice
- 2 dashes Angostura bitters
- Lime wheel, for garnish
- Place the mint leaves in a highball or Collins glass. Lightly muddle the mint and rub it along the inside of the glass.
- Add the liquid ingredients to the glass and then fill it with crushed ice. Then, using a spoon or swizzle stick, stir the drink until it is very cold and a light frost forms on the outside of the glass. Top off with more crushed ice to fill the glass, if needed.
- Garnish with a big sprig of mint and a lime wheel. Serve.