I don't know how helpful this is, but here's the essay I did on the Queen's Park Swizzle for the Esquire Drinks Database (I'd link to it--it's available through www.esquire.com--but it's a bit tricky, at least for a Luddite like me).
“Every explorer,” as P.G. Wodehouse observed in his 1931 materpiece Big Money, “knows that the most important thing in a strange country is the locating of the drink supply.” Easy enough when the “strange country” in question is—as in Big Money—suburban London. But spare a kind thought for poor old Mungo Park, the rather daft Scotsman who found himself walking with a Muslim slave-caravan through the Jallonka wilderness (that’s somewhere in the vicinity of Mali, we think), and nary a drop of whisky within a thousand miles. But that was in the 1790s. By the end of the next century, wherever a Briton was likely to be found, there was a grand hotel. And wherever there was a grand hotel, there was a bar.
In Cairo, it was Shepherd’s, with its famous terrace. In Singapore, the Raffles. Calcutta had its Great Eastern, Bombay its Great Western. Later (though still early enough to get in thirteen good years before the Japanese came), Hong Kong was graced with the Peninsula. These, and the many more like them, were more than just hotels. They were the stanchions that held taut the Chain of Empire. So to speak. Little bits of Knightsbridge and Mayfair (you know, the posh parts of London) with just enough exotic gloss to make them exciting, they were where the real business of running an enterprise that covered one-fourth of the earth’s surface was conducted. No gentleman traveler would think of staying anywhere else.
A considerable portion of both the exotic gloss and the real business were centered in the bar. After all, how better to experience a foreign civilization than by sipping it from tall glasses? A few of these liquid ambassadors went on to achieve lives of their own, untethered from their bamboo, brass and teak cradles. The Long Bar at the Raffles, for example, gave birth to the Singapore Sling(although its original, 1915 recipe appears to have been lost for good), while Shepherd’s had the Suffering Bar Steward (don’t ask). For our money, though, the best of them all was the Queen’s Park Swizzle, from Trinidad. And we’re not alone—in 1946, none other than Trader Vic himself, apostle of rum, dubbed it “the most delightful form of anesthesia given out today.”
The long-time business capital of the British West Indies, Trinidad’s Port of Spain is a gritty, bustling port notably deficient in languid tropical charm—until you come to the Queen’s Park Savannah, a massive green-space that lies right in the heart of town. That’s where you’ll find your colorful shanties serving exotic, delicious snacks (try the “bake and shark”), your brightly-dressed young beauties strolling slowly among the trees (and few places indeed can boast more beautiful women than Trinidad), your picturesque, verandah-wrapped colonial mansions. None of these were more handsomely verandahed (is that a word? no matter) than the Queen’s Park Hotel, where everybody who was everybody who came to Trinidad stayed. You can’t stay there now, though--they tore it down a couple of years ago to build an office block. Port of Spain’s just that kind of town. At least the Swizzle lives on.
Combine in tall, 12-16 oz glass:
3 oz rum*
juice of 1/2 lime, plus squeezed-out shell
6-8 mint leaves
1/2 oz simple syrup**
3 dashes Angostura bitters.
Pour in about a cup of shaved or very finely cracked ice and swizzle—you know, stick your swizzle stick in it and twirl it between your palms until the glass frosts. (That swizzle stick? Not the plastic thing that airlines give out, but a long, straight stick with short branches radiating from the bottom; if, as is likely, you don’t have one, be creative) Intubate with a straw and serve. Drink slowly, if possible.
*The original recipe calls for not one of the light, suave rums made in Trinidad, but rather a heavy, fragrant Demerara rum, from nearby Guyana. Trinidad’s rum industry didn’t really kick into high gear until World War II, y’see, and before that they seem to have made do with what was lying around the ‘hood. If you’re butch enough, go Demerara—Lemon Hart is an excellent brand (DO NOT use the 151-proof).
**A true Trini would be insulted if you used white, refined sugar. So take 8 oz (by weight) of blonde Demerara sugar or “Sugar in the Raw,” melt it in a cup of water over low heat and let it cool (it’ll keep it the fridge indefinitely). Or just say to hell with it and use 2 teaspoons of superfine bar sugar.
In general, AFAIK, the Swizzle in the form we know it dates from the mid-19th century (before that, the West Indies had no reliable supplay of ice, a sine qua non
for a proper Swizzle). The earliest mentions I've seen call for rum or gin--both quite popular in the British West Indies--sugar, ice and, almost invariably, bitters. Barbados' once-famous "Green Swizzle," beloved of all P.G. Wodehouse fans, was evidently the recipe to introduce limes to the mix. Beyond that, if old-school swizzlenomics was an engine for innovation, I haven't seen it (unless you count tipping in a splash of curacao as innovation). In other words, I think George's rules are exactly right, historically speaking, with one exception: traditionally, swizzles were made by the pitcher as well as by the glass.