This classic Caribbean cocktail combines crushed ice with spirits and citrus, "swizzled" into something between a julep and a grown-up snow cone. Frosty and tropical, it's the quickest way to channel island time.
- 4 ounces fresh lime juice
- Angostura bitters, freshly grated nutmeg, mint sprigs (for serving)
Combine rum, lime juice, and simple syrup in a measuring glass; cover and chill.
Divide mixture among 4 Collins glasses. Fill 1 glass with crushed ice and push a swizzle stick or bar spoon just below surface of the ice. Rapidly roll stick between your palms, working your way down and pulling up occasionally to blend cocktail, until chilled, about 10 seconds. Top off with more ice, doming above rim; finish with a dash of bitters, nutmeg, and a sprig of mint. Repeat with remaining drinks.
The Rum Swizzle Recipe and History – How to make a Rum Swizzle
No, it’s not a dance. But it just might spark some interesting moves!
A Rum Swizzle is a rum based drink that pre dates the cocktail and is often called Bermudas national drink. It’s named after the way its mixed rather than the ingredients. Yet again, this is a drink dripping in history it was served at the world’s first cocktail party in London in 1924 held by novelist Alec Waugh.
Having researched the background of this cocktail we believe the Swizzles originated in the West Indies where everything, including hot chocolate is swizzled.
To prepare a Rum Swizzle, it’s best to use an authentic swizzle stick. Real swizzle sticks are long stems snapped off a tree native to the Caribbean, and feature multiple (5 or 6) horizontal prongs at the end. When spun rapidly between your hands inside a cold cocktail, it should create a layer of frost on the outside of a glass—the sign of a perfect swizzle.
The sticks from the Swizzzle Stick tree (Quararibea turbinata) have aromatic bark on them, which, if used vigorously enough, would have given early swizzles a slightly bitter/spicy flavour. Most sticks/spoons used for mixing drinks nowadays are generally stripped of the bark – or worse, made from plastic – which might explain why most modern swizzle recipes include a dash of bitters.
Different bartenders have different variations and methods of preparing this drink but here’s the most commonly used recipe…
50 ml Rum
5 ml Falernum
40 ml pineapple juice
40 ml orange juice
10ml fresh lemon juice
2 dashes of Angostura bitters
Check out our recipes find the TASTE recipe for our very own Rum Swizzle – ‘Everything you need to know for the February Subscribers Kit’
How to make the perfect Rum Swizzle
Made in a tall glass, ⅓ full of crushed ice add Gosling’s Black Seal Rum, Gosling’s Gold Rum, pineapple juice, orange juice, Grenadine or Bermuda Falernum, lemon juice to the prefered taste and Angostura bitters. Swizzle with the swizzle stick, until a frothing appears or mix in a cocktail shaker. Strain into a martini glass. Garnish with a slice of orange or pineapple cube..or both!
So hopefully that gives you a little insight into the Swizzle, yet there is so much more out there to be discovered and we look forward to hearing all about your swizzles and hope you enjoying tasting them! We are featuring this cocktail in our February subscribers kit or you can grab one from our shop if you’re not yet a subscriber. So go and get your stick in one hand, a bottle of rum in the other and get your swizzle on!
The swizzle sticks origin
Did you know that the swizzle stick originally made its appearance in the Caribbean? People used to break off little branches from the Quararibea turbinate tree. Then they would take these small branches, which have many little fingers of wood sticking out of them and stir their drinks with them. Those branches became known as swizzle sticks and the tree became known as the swizzle tree.
People used to place the wood between their palms and briskly rub, causing the stick to rotate in the drink. All those little fingers used to swirl around and do a great job mixing the cocktail. They called it swizzling.
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Swizzle Inn Recipe
Jay Correira, proprietor of the Swizzle Inn, claims the Bermuda Rum Swizzle was invented at the pub in 1932. The owners at that time wanted a drink to distinguish the pub and came up with the cocktail.
He first mixes the ingredients in a pitcher filled with crushed ice:
- 4 oz. Gosling’s Black Seal Rum
- 4 oz. Gosling’s Gold Bermuda Rum
- 2 oz. of Triple Sec
- 2 oz. of Bermuda Falernum or sugar syrup
- 5 oz. of pineapple juice
- 5 oz. of orange juice
- Juice of 2 lemons
- 4 dashes of Angostura bitters
The mixture is then shaken until a frothy head appears.
Ready Mixed Bermuda Rum Swizzle
For those that don’t want to take the time to buy the ingredients and mix the drink, Gosling’s offer a ready-mixed version. You can find a list of retailers around the world on the official Gosling’s website.
Almost any bar on the island will mix you a Rum Swizzle, but the most obvious places to try are the Swizzle Inn and the Swizzle Inn South Shore.
For a more educational experience you can take the Gosling’s Rum Tasting Cruise offered by the Island Tour Centre/Fantasea Bermuda.
On the 90-minute cruise around the Great Sound a Gosling’s ‘rumologist’ gives an interesting talk on the history of the company, demonstrates how to prepare the Bermuda Rum Swizzle and the Dark ‘n’ Stormy, and gives out samples.
Comments and Additional Information
Some 23 years earlier : In his 1909 book, Beverages, Past and Present: An Historical Sketch of Their Production, Brotherhood Winery owner Edward R. Emerson asserted that Rum Swizzles originated on the Caribbean island of Saint Kitts.
I bought a bottle of Swizzle Inn Rum Swizzle on the ship before I left the cruise. Now it’s almost gone and I want more! Can it be shipped from Bermuda to USA?
Where does one purchase the Goslings ready mixed rum swizzle? I just googled it but did not find anything. Best drink ever!
Just came back to Boston after a four day stay in Bermuda and yes the Rum Swizzle AT the Swizzle Inn is by far the best I had tasted. I have tried mixing it here at home but it could never taste the same. It had to be the warmth of the Bermudians. We ate at the Swizzle Inn twice daily, had Rum Swizzles every time and YES it is very potent.
Are there any other options for rum tasting in Bermuda other than the Gosling’s rum cruise?
Well, there are infinite possibilities. The obvious place for Rum Swizzle is the Swizzle Inn, but you can get it at any bar really. Gosling’s also set up a stall at Harbour Nights in Hamilton and offer rum tasting.
For a refreshing cocktail on a warm summer evening, nothing beats the tropical vibes of this Rum Swizzle. This rum-based cocktail is often called "Bermuda&rsquos national drink.&rdquo To prepare this storied drink, it&rsquos best to use an authentic swizzle stick, which are long stems snapped off a tree native to the Caribbean and feature multiple prongs that stick out horizontally. When spun rapidly between your hands inside the ice-cold cocktail, the swizzle stick will create a thick layer of frost on the outside of a glass&mdashthe sign of a perfect swizzle. If you don&rsquot have an authentic swizzle stick, you can use a whisk. Combine shaved ice, light rum, fresh lime juice, sugar and Angostura bitters in a pitcher and stir, or whisk until the mixture is foamy. Pour into glasses and garnish with orange slices, mint, and lime zest. This is the ideal cocktail when hosting a small porch or deck party. Create a charcuterie board using your favorite cheese, sausages, and pickles. Or serve a platter of fresh summer appetizers such as easy Muffin Pan Tomato Tarts or Artichoke and Crab Dip. If you need a drink for a larger crowd, these big-batch cocktails make your party planning a bit easier. Enjoyed at the pool, on the front porch, or at the family lake house, these fresh cocktails will help everyone cool off and stay comfortable. Farmers&rsquo market fruit isn&rsquot just for snacking and desserts - you can use the season&rsquos freshest produce in pitcher cocktails such as Honeysuckle-Watermelon Cocktails and Peach Mojitos. Whether you make Rum Swizzles for two or a big batch cocktail for a crowd, enjoy these refreshing drinks all season long.
Bermuda Rum Swizzle
POUR ingredients into glass and two-thirds fill with crushed ice. SWIZZLE with a swizzle stick or CHURN (stir) with a bar spoon. Fill glass with more crushed ice and repeat. Serve with straws.
|1 shot||Havana Club 3 Year Old rum|
|1 shot||Dark/black/blackstrap rum|
|3 &frasl4 shot||Difford's Falernum|
|1 shot||Pineapple juice (fresh pressed)|
|1 shot||Orange juice (freshly squeezed)|
|1 &frasl2 shot||Grapefruit juice (pink)|
|1 &frasl2 shot||Lime juice (freshly squeezed)|
|1 &frasl4 shot||Lemon juice (freshly squeezed)|
|2 dash||Angostura Aromatic Bitters|
Difford's Guide remains free-to-use thanks to the support of the brands in green above.
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The Story Behind Bermuda’s Rum Swizzle (Recipe)
There’s no right way to make a rum swizzle, just ask any Bermudian. Often referred to as “Bermuda’s national drink,” the rum-based cocktail is a staple at bars and restaurants across the island and typically contains a blend of different citrus juices, spices and bitters. But because no two renditions are the same, locals often find it difficult to come to a consensus over whose blend is best.
Just ask Jay Correia, owner of the Swizzle Inn, a local pub and restaurant that claims ownership of the invention of the rum swizzle.
“Everyone here in Bermuda who makes a rum swizzle claims that they have the best one,” says Correia. “The recipes change radically depending on who you’re talking to. Everyone wants you to try their rum swizzle, but what I tell people is that we have the original. It’s a friendly competition. I have people come in and ask me to taste [their version] and they want me to tell them that theirs is better than ours, but of course I never do.”
While many bars and restaurants around the island offer rum swizzles, each with its own variation on the recipe, the Swizzle Inn remains the most vocal about theirs and their claim of its origins. Other locales outside of Bermuda have also staked their claim as the inventors, including Caribeean islands like Saint Kitts and Barbados. However, Correia asserts that its origins “as it pertains to Bermuda” date back to 1932, when the Outerbridge family, a prominent local family with roots on the island going as far back as the 1600s, opened the Swizzle Inn in Bailey’s Bay, part of Hamilton Parish on the north side of the island, and put their own twist on the drink using whatever was available at the time.
To make the drink back then, “they used the rums available locally, which was Gosling's Rum, and blended it with a Barbados rum that was also prevalent on the island at the time,” he says. “In the 1930s, the inventory of what was available on the island was pretty limited, so they used what they could, which was orange and pineapple juices, some lemon juice and falernum [a syrupy liqueur that contains ginger, lime, almond and spices]. They created the cocktail in a pitcher using the swizzle stick, which is cut from [the swizzle stick tree, Quararibea turbinata], which would agitate the drink and make it foamy. And that’s how the swizzle in Bermuda was created.”
Over the years, locals have put their own spin on the drink, experimenting with different amounts of juices or adding in new ingredients, such as grenadine to give it a splash of color. However, the Swizzle Inn has stayed consistent with its recipe (see below), and has set the tone of what ingredients should be included to make a traditional version of the drink, though using a swizzle stick plucked straight from a tree is no longer part of the regimen.
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