Barbados Red Rum Swizzle

Posted by TraderTiki on July 8th, 2008 — Posted in Rum, Teardrop Tiki Menu, Tiki-Kon, Tools, Trader Vic

Summer, is it here? Who knows here it Portland. In a matter with Nature’s cruel irony, the June Tiki Tuesday just happened to be on the one cloudy day after a weekend of sunny weather. Luckily, the NW Tiki Crawl was bright and sunshiney, making the pool (and basement bar) at the final stop feel all that much better.

Hot weather brings about inspiration for the Tikiphile in all of us. What better than a full complement of tropical weather and drinks to make ones feet feel lifted, out of the office chair and into a hammock, slung with leisure, and some care, between two native palms. A chilly tropical drink in one hand, and not a damned care in the other.

This drink, as printed in the pages of Trader Vic’s Book of Food and Drink, is the first in his tall ones section. Though listed alphabetically, I think it’s a damned dandy drink to start of a tour of Tropical Tall Ones.

Barbados Red Rum Swizzle

Barbados Red Rum Swizzle

All that stuff about fifteen men on a dead man’s chest, yo-ho-ho and a bottle of rum, isn’t just so much hokum.  There was more swashbuckling in and around the Barbados Islands, and in all the British West Indies in general, than anyone will ever be able to write about.  The natives down there developed a terrific red rum and this little potion is a great way to enjoy it.

  • 1/2 lime
  • 2 ounces Barbados Rum
  • 1 dash Angostura Bitters
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar

Squeeze lime and drop in 10-ounce glass; fill glass with shaved ice; add rest of ingredients and swizzle.

Of course, the trader had quite a bit to say about the technique this drink is named for.

Before we go any further, a word about swizzling.  I think it’s a hell of an idea.  You get your drink and you stir it with a spoon but you don’t get the proper dilution to make it taste good.  With your pet swizzler you work it up and down in the drink between the palms of your hands and you get a good chill on the drink and the proper dilution of any strong drink.

The original swizzle sticks, a natural product of the West Indies, consisted of a dried stem of a planty having radiating branches.  When the stem is twirled rapidly between the palms of the hands, the forked branch ends induce a perfect mixture.

To give you an idea of the indicated result, here’s a nice little close up of a well-swizzled drink.

Frost on a Barbados Red Rum Swizzle

If you were to ask this Trader’s opinion (and you’ll get it, asked or not), swizzling appears to be out of fashion.  Why that is, who is to say.  The Swizzle Stick has been knocked down from bar tool to novelty-wear, a blunt cocktail pick with a doofy flamingo sporting a corporate logo on the top.  Perhaps once the muddling of the Mojito madness dies down, this simple but elegant method (and the drinks it is named for) will come back into its proper place in tropical libations.

If you’re looking for a good (and inexpensive) swizzle stick designed in the classic functional fashion, well, best of luck to you.  There are a good number of Cocktail Stirrers that have a nice wide shape which work well when swizzling with an up and down technique.  A bar spoon can do fine, if the handle is round and not straight.  And if you do find a bewitching swizzle stick in your travels, I be willin to share, I be!

Update: Many thanks to Chris at Rookie Libations for pointing out his excellent post on the swizzle.  Also, turn on your jealousy hats because I gots me a real one now!

If you liked that post, then try these...

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Shingle Stain

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The transition from summer to fall is not hitting this old California boy too well.

1 Comment »

Comment by Tiare

I like that close up pic! lets make a deal, if any of us finds a source for those swizzles let the other know, ok?

Posted on July 31, 2008 at 7:41 am

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