Back in the day (or roughly 100 years ago), hotel bars used to be where a lot of cocktails were invented. And many of these cocktails - like the Singapore Sling and the Vieux Carre - turned into classics. We’ll get to both of those cocktails in good time, but today we’re talking about the Queens Park Swizzle. This cocktail was invented at a Trinidadian hotel in the early 20th century, and it’s essentially a richer and more complex Mojito. You don’t have to shake it - but you do need to swizzle. This might sound like a dance that was invented in the 1950s in order to get teenagers to buy more records, but it is, in fact, a way of stirring your drink.
How It Tastes: Minty, ice-cold, like pure serotonin
the queens park swizzle
Makes one Queens Park Swizzle
- Crushed ice
- 2 ounces rum
- .75 ounce simple syrup (preferably made with demerara sugar)
- .75 ounce lime juice
- Angostura bitters
Step One: Mint
This cocktail begins with roughly one small handful of mint, or around 10 mint leaves. If that seems like a lot, that’s because it is - but don’t question it. Just give those mint leaves a smack between the palms of your hands (to release the essential oils), and throw them in the bottom of your highball.
Step Two: Simple Syrup
This cocktail needs simple syrup - and, ideally, you’ll make yours with demerara sugar. This is a light brown sugar (although it’s different from brown sugar) with a richer taste and a bit of molasses, and it’ll help bring a deeper flavor to this cocktail. But if all you have is white sugar, that’s fine too. To make your simple syrup, use equal parts sugar and hot water, then stir until your sugar is dissolved. Add .75 ounce of this syrup to your highball.
Step Three: Lime juice
Next, pour half an ounce of lime juice into your highball. The easiest and best way to get this juice is by squeezing a lime, so we suggest you do that.
Step Four: Rum
Some people insist on a specific type of rum for a Queens Park Swizzle (demerara rum, for example), but we find that just about any gold rum works just fine. Try to find something with a bit of age on it (preferably from the Caribbean), so you can get some deeper caramelized notes in the cocktail. Whatever you choose, add 2 ounces to your highball.
Step Five: Crushed Ice
As we mentioned earlier, this cocktail calls for crushed ice. But is it really necessary? Yes. Yes, it is. A Queens Park Swizzle should be packed with ice, to the extent that it feels like shaved ice flavored with alcohol - and the only way to do this is with crushed ice. In order to crush your ice, you can either use a blender, fill a ziplock bag with ice and whack it with a mallet, or you can take each individual ice cube, cup it in your hand, and hit it with the back of a spoon. That’s what we do, and it isn’t as time-consuming as it seems. Once you’ve crushed your ice, fill your highball with it.
Step Six: Swizzle
Congratulations, you’re about to learn how to swizzle. Yes, this is a real bartending technique used for mixing drinks - and it even has its own dedicated utensil called a “swizzle stick.” You do not, however, need a swizzle stick. Just insert a bar spoon into your highball, place the handle between the palms of your hands, and give it a few twists like you’re trying to make a fire in the woods. That’s how you swizzle.
Step Seven: Bitters & Garnish
Top your drink off with some more crushed ice, so that it’s just barely peeking over the rim of the glass, and apply roughly 5-8 dashes of Angostura bitters to the top of your Queens Park Swizzle. Yes, we know this is a lot of bitters, but Angostura bitters are probably less bitter than you think. (You can actually make a cocktail using them as the base spirit - although we’ll save that for another time). Garnish with a healthy-looking mint sprig, and, if you want to take your time drinking this cocktail, go for it. The ice will slowly melt, and the bitters will gradually mix in, so no two sips will be the same.