The Queens Park Swizzle is one of those versatile tropical tasting Cocktails that is very easy to drink and everybody loves.
Created back in 1920 at the (now closed) Queens Park Hotel in Trinidad, by 1946 its popularity had spread far and wide enough that it became a favourite of famous San Francisco restaurateur Victor Bergeron—known as Trader Vic.
Of it, he wrote in the famous Trader Vic’s Book of Food and Drink, that the Queen’s Park Swizzle was “the most delightful form of anaesthesia given out today”.
A wonderful mix of dark Rum, Sugar, Lime & Bitters, this drink gets its unique signature from the swizzle technique, which calls for agitating the drink until frost forms on the glass.
Although it’s one of those drinks were technique and construction is important, Adrian Sanchez from Sydney Tiki Bar, Jacoby’s, shows us that it’s not nearly as complicated as it looks.
“People love this drink,” he said, “it kind of reminds them of a Mojito but with the Aged Rum and Angostura it has more depth. It’s a drink that gives people something that they are familiar with but a new take on it, even though its an old take, actually.”
Sanchez says that the only way you can go wrong with a Queens Park Swizzle is by using the wrong Rum.
“Using a dark rum is what makes this drink. Technically the Queens Park predates the Mojito and using dark rum is what separates the two drinks.
“Using Queens Park as a base you can experiment with other things like fresh fruit. I’ve seen one made with Mango, a Queens Park Mango Swizzle, which worked out really nicely.”
Although this drink traditionally uses Demerara Rum, Sanchez points out that it can be either expensive or hard to come by, so he suggests a good aged Rum instead. At Jacoby’s they use Pampero Especial Gold Rum which is Venezuelan because it’s a very easy Aged Rum to drink. Especially if you have had issues with Dark or Aged Rum in the past, Sanchez points out this is a great Rum to try.
While a normal Sugar Syrup will do in a pinch, a richer Sugar Syrup works better in this Cocktail.
“Essentially if you are making it at home you want to make the sugar syrup as rich as you can,” said Sanchez. “You want to make it very, very thick; something that has been boiled down quite a bit and is a high concentration of sugar. The sweetness will last longer, it lengths the sweetness of the drink.”
This is where you’re going to need to be a bit tough on your ice but don’t berate it – crush it. Swizzle Cocktails by their nature need crushed ice, so make the swizzle technique work effectively. Now you could get out the food processor and blitz it but if you are after enough ice just for one drink a pro tip is to fill a cocktail shaker about halfway with ice cubes. Take a sturdy muddler and smash the ice until it’s reached the texture and consistency desired.
As Sanchez points out a Collins glass provides the perfect profile of this drink. Just remember to chill the glass before making the drink.
The combination of Angostura Bitters and fresh Mint make a perfect combination garnish for this drink. Make sure the mint is fresh and that you “smack” it before garnishing the cocktail, so it can release it lovely minty aroma.
This is probably the most important part of the construction of a Swizzle Cocktail. While swizzling may seem hard, Sanchez points out it’s all in the fingers.
“The best way to do it is to make your hands as if you are praying and then widen your fingers out as far as they can go,” he said. You are looking to provide the longest base to actually perform the movement and once you have that, you have the most control over the spoon.
“You’re turning the spoon with all your fingers – going clockwise and anti-clockwise into your palms. Sometimes that’s easier said than done of course but widening your fingers is the best tip.”
Queens Park Swizzle
- 2 oz/60 ml aged rum, Pampero Especial Gold Rum is ideal
- 1 oz/30ml Rich Sugar Syrup
- 1 oz/30ml fresh Lime Juice
- 8-12 fresh Mint Leaves
- 8 dashes Angostura Aromatic Bitters
In a Collins glass, add the Lime Juice fresh mint leaves, Rum and simple syrup. Fill the glass with crushed ice. Insert a bar spoon or swizzle stick and twirl it back and forth by rubbing the handle between your palms, which evenly chills and dilutes the ingredients, sending the mint swirling about the glass. Add more crushed ice to just above the rim of the glass, then top off with Angostura Bitters and garnish with fresh Mint.