• Weekly Cocktail #51: The Queen’s Park Swizzle

    The Queen's Park Swizzle

    The Queen’s Park Swizzle

    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…

    swizswiz1What’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.

    swiz2swiz4There 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).

    swiz5The 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.

    swiz6As 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…;-)

    swiz7The Queen’s Park Swizzle:

    Ingredients:

    • 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

    Assemble:

    1. Place the mint leaves in a highball or Collins glass. Lightly muddle the mint and rub it along the inside of the glass.
    2. 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.
    3. Garnish with a big sprig of mint and a lime wheel. Serve.
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  • Mixology Monday Cocktail #1: The Calm Sunny Day

    The Calm Sunny Day. Neither dark, nor stormy.

    The Calm Sunny Day. Neither dark, nor stormy.

    There is one week to go before Mixology Monday drinks are due. But since we are hosting, we figured we should post a few examples of cocktails that might fit our theme of “inverted”. If you want the whole download on the theme, click here. But the basic idea is to create or share a cocktail that in some way inverts or “flips” common parts of the drink. You can invert the ratio of spirits, liquor and bitters, or flip the colors, flavors, theme, etc. Plenty of ways to be creative.

    sunnysunny6To start, we decided to go with something easy, but as we got into it we realized just how many ways you can play with a cocktail. Our first “inverted” creation is the Calm Sunny Day, essentially an inverted Dark ‘n Stormy. The Dark ‘n Stormy is a well-known long drink combining Goslings dark rum, lime juice and ginger beer (or ginger ale in a pinch). It is a bright, funky and spicy summer drink, usually served on the rocks in a highball glass.

    sunny1sunny4We decided to invert the Dark ‘n Stormy into a more traditional cocktail, and this is where it got fun. The Calm Sunny Day combines aged filtered rum, ginger liqueur and lime juice (and a dash of bitters, if you like). You get the same basic flavors of the Dark ‘n Stormy, but everything else is flipped. Highball turns to cocktail, dark rum to light, brown colors are now very pale, ginger beer to ginger liqueur and the name gets a change as well. You get the idea.

    sunny2A few notes on the ingredients will help with the recipe. Firstly, we use filtered aged rum like El Dorado 3 yr. or Banks 5-Island. It turns out you can filter the color from aged, darker rums and keep most of their “funk” and flavor. This kind of rum let us change the color of the drink and is a good cocktail ingredient, but if you already have Goslings or other dark rum you can use it (you just get a deeper color, extra recipe below). As for Ginger Liqueur, there are a few producers and each type varies slightly in sweetness and spice. It is best to mix your first version with less ginger liqueur and adjust upwards if needed. And you may need a dash of simple syrup to add sweetness without adding too much ginger. We also add a dash of Bittermen’s Burlesque bitters for extra funk, but it’s totally optional.

    sunny3 Continue reading