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Swizzles!


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#31 Splificator

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Posted 07 October 2005 - 09:35 PM

Just to muddy the waters a bit, let me add this; it's an ad from the Kingston, Jamaica Gleaner, March 2, 1916:

"For a Delicious Thirst-Quencher Try this
Special West Indian Swizzle.
One teaspoonful [crikey!--DW] Dr. Siegert's Angostura Bitters.
Two-thirds wine glass J. Wray & Nephew's Old Rum.
One-third wine glass water.
A little Syrup or Sugar if liked.
One wine glass shaved ice.
Place in a shaker and shake well, then strain into a Cocktail
Glass.

J Wray & Nephew,
Port Royal Street, Kingston."

So. Swizzle and Cocktail, same-same?
aka David Wondrich

There are, according to recent statistics, 147 female bartenders in the United States. In the United Kingdom the barmaid is a feature of the wayside inn, and is a young woman of intelligence and rare sagacity. --The Syracuse Standard, 1895

#32 ThinkingBartender

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Posted 09 October 2005 - 05:48 AM

That looks like some nasty Daiquiri!!!

There are some people who shake their daiquiris with crushed ice, and others who shake with ice cubes and a splash of water (to compensate for dilution).

Cheers!

George

#33 ThinkingBartender

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Posted 09 October 2005 - 05:51 AM

a Rum Sling perhaps?

#34 Alchemist

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Posted 20 October 2005 - 05:16 AM

I have been using cracked ice instead of crushed in my swizzles. Is that wrong?



A DUSTY SHAKER LEADS TO A THIRSTY LIFE

#35 M.X.Hassett

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Posted 20 October 2005 - 05:23 AM

I have been using cracked ice instead of crushed in my swizzles.  Is that wrong?

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IMHO this is a very fine method indeed, as long as the drink is the proper size so that it is consumed in proper time (to avoid over dilution*) which has been very well done in my recent experience with this drink.

Edit:*

Edited by M.X.Hassett, 20 October 2005 - 05:56 PM.

Matthew Xavier Hassett aka "M.X.Hassett"

"Cocktail is a stimulating liquor, composed of spirits of any kind, sugar, water, and bitters-it is vulgarly called bittered sling and is supposed to be an exellent electioneering potion..."
- Balance and Columbian Repository. May 13, 1806

#36 slkinsey

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Posted 20 October 2005 - 07:08 PM

I have been using cracked ice instead of crushed in my swizzles.  Is that wrong?

Crushed is traditional, no? The small pieces? Depending on how fine the crack is (to me, "cracked ice" is big cubes of ice broken apart into two or three pieces, none smaller than a marble), I'm not sure how well the frosting of the glass would go.
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#37 Alchemist

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Posted 21 October 2005 - 08:28 AM

Cracked ice (to me) is a myriad if shapes and sizes. When I crack (no smart a%$ comments please) I get some ice as fine as snow and some chunks half the size of the original cube. That is what I find so charming about it. The Champange Oppertuinities in "A Gentelmans Companion" would not be the same with ice that was all the same size.

One can swizzle with cracked ice, I saw it done at the Pegu club the other night, and the ice coating on the outside of the glass is the same.



A DUSTY SHAKER LEADS TO A THIRSTY LIFE

#38 slkinsey

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Posted 24 June 2009 - 06:48 AM

There's a nice article in today's NY Times entitled It’s Not So Mysterious: The Secret Is in the Swizzle, by Robert Simonson.

Some discussion as to the actual effect of the swizzle process ensues:

Beyond that, what the method contributes to the drink — aside from a lively sideshow — is somewhat open to debate. Wayne Curtis, a cocktail authority and the author of "And a Bottle of Rum," suspects that the stick's significance is mainly cultural and ritualistic. Not that that’s a bad thing. "Ritual is fine," Mr. Curtis said. "There's a lot of ritual in the cocktail world."

Richard Boccato — who put the Queens Park Swizzle on the menu at Dutch Kills, a new bar in Long Island City, Queens, that he owns with Sasha Petraske — thinks there’s more at stake. "The act in the swizzling is what makes the drink aesthetically pleasing to the guest," Mr. Boccato said. "They enjoy watching it, for sure, but it's also something that integral to the preparation. It's very much what brings the drink together."

But Mr. Petraske regards swizzling as simply a more controlled way of stirring. "It's a way of not disturbing the muddled stuff that's at the bottom," he said. "Aside from that, I can't think of any difference it makes."

Dave Wondrich, as per usual, weighs in with the definitive answer. . .

The swizzle is just that kind of cocktail. The more you chase after its essence, the less you understand. The cocktail expert David Wondrich said, "Vague answers are all you’re going to get."

Er, or maybe not. . .

The one thing I found odd about the article is that it features a recipe for the QPS made with white rum instead of demerara rum. I understand that not everyone can get their hands on demerara rum (indeed, I've rarely seen Lemon Hart at retail in NYC), but I would think that at least a funky amber rum would be de rigueur.
Samuel Lloyd Kinsey

#39 KD1191

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Posted 24 June 2009 - 08:31 AM

The one thing I found odd about the article is that it features a recipe for the QPS made with white rum instead of demerara rum.  I understand that not everyone can get their hands on demerara rum (indeed, I've rarely seen Lemon Hart at retail in NYC), but I would think that at least a funky amber rum would be de rigueur.

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Toby posted a recipe in the Mint Drinks thread that uses both Brugal White Rum and Matusalem.

I think that desired visual effect of layered green/white/red (the mark of a properly composed swizzle imo) would be difficult to achieve if you were using entirely demerara rum.
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#40 slkinsey

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Posted 24 June 2009 - 11:30 AM

This sounds like the Swizzle he was calling the Prince Parker Swizzle upthread in 2005. It's a riff on the QPS.

That layered effect is cool, but I'm not sure it's a necessary part of the QPS. And the QPS calls for demerara rum, no two ways about it (it also has Angostura bitters, not Peychaud's -- so no red either). I'm not saying that all swizzles call for demerara rum. Just the QPS. Theoretically you could make a gin swizzle if you wanted to.
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#41 KD1191

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Posted 24 June 2009 - 12:05 PM

The pictures in the NYT article you linked clearly show the layer separation, and a 'reddish' top (which I assume is the Angostura from the recipe). The article itself discusses the swizzle stick as a means to stir without disturbing the muddled ingredients (i.e. to maintain the layers). I'm not saying that if you blend them together you can't call it a swizzle, but I wouldn't consider it a very artfully/purposefully made one.

I don't know the history of the drink, so I can't comment on the necessity of demerara rum.
True rye and true bourbon wake delight like any great wine...dignify man as possessing a palate that responds to them and ennoble his soul as shimmering with the response.

DeVoto, The Hour

#42 slkinsey

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Posted 24 June 2009 - 02:08 PM

As far as I can tell, the layering effect for swizzles (usually with bitters added on top) is a relatively recent affectation. I don't gather that it's part of the classic craft of this family of drinks. This isn't to say that it doesn't look cool, but I would hardly think of compromising on the flavor and character of the base spirit in order to make a visual effect, and I wouldn't consider layering necessary for making a well-crafted swizzle. It's no more necessary in making a swizzle than layering the stout over the ale is necessary in making a Black and Tan (this, too, is a relatively modern affectation).

For that matter, I wouldn't take Sasha's suggestion that that the main utility of swizzling is as "a way of not disturbing the muddled stuff that's at the bottom" as gospel truth. Most swizzles don't feature muddled mint or indeed any muddled ingredients at all.

In some instances, prioritizing a layered visual effect could lead to a lesser quality swizzle if bartenders defer to a Cuban-style white rum and overuse of bitters to make it happen. Six dashes of Angostura bitters to two ounces of white rum in Dutch Kills' version seems to be overdoing it a bit compared to three dashes of Angostura to thee ounces of demerara rum in the more traditional recipe.
Samuel Lloyd Kinsey

#43 KD1191

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Posted 24 June 2009 - 03:10 PM

Then, to get to the question the article doesn't seem to answer, what purpose does the swizzle serve?

Some cursory searching doesn't lead me to any 'traditional recipes' and I'm away from my books at the moment, so I'm left to wonder. It doesn't seem to be about a particular combination of elements, but rather a method. Just contemplating what that method involves leads me to believe the swizzle is essentially defined by presentation...the rhythmic motion (and sound), the frosting of the glass, the undisturbed layers of color (where applicable). Maybe Sasha's opinion isn't gospel, but I think it strikes closest to the heart of what I know about the drink.

I'm not for gilding the lily, or sacrificing good taste for presentation, but presentation certainly enters into the equation of the quality of a cocktail. That said, I don't think you need to choose. I quite like Toby's version, which is one of my wife's favorite cocktails, it's both beautiful and delicious.
True rye and true bourbon wake delight like any great wine...dignify man as possessing a palate that responds to them and ennoble his soul as shimmering with the response.

DeVoto, The Hour

#44 slkinsey

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Posted 24 June 2009 - 09:53 PM

I would say that the kind of swizzle we see today (the non-pitcher variant) includes, in order of importance:

1. Swizzled
2. Crushed ice
3. Built in the glass
4. Base spirit
5. Sweetener (sugar, falernum, etc.)
6. Bitters (with some rare exceptions)
----
7. Usually juice (most usually citrus juice)
----
8. Sometimes herbage (usually mint), sometimes muddled

I would say that 1-6 are de rigueur, 7 is probably true of 90% of swizzles, 8 is actually quite rare but is true of one of the most famous iterations.
Samuel Lloyd Kinsey

#45 MattJohnson

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Posted 25 June 2009 - 09:16 AM

After reading this topic yesterday, last night I tried a few. I had some left over basil and did this:

4 big basil leaves
2 oz beefeater
.75 oz lime juice
scant .5 light agave syrup
dash angostura

lightly muddled the basil to get the oils going, dumped all ingredients in. thoroughly cracked ice (ala Alchemist) and swizzled.

Quite good. Only bad thing is how quickly they go down.

Edited by MattJohnson, 25 June 2009 - 09:16 AM.


#46 RoyalSwagger

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Posted 25 June 2009 - 10:28 AM

Aye, swizzles do go down quickly, and that there good sir looks like a damn tasty swizzle.

#47 slkinsey

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Posted 25 June 2009 - 11:57 AM

Then, to get to the question the article doesn't seem to answer, what purpose does the swizzle serve?

Tradition and showmanship certainly play a part. The other effect of swizzling is that the agitation rapidly chills the drink. Think of it as a kind of "shaking in the glass." There is no reason a bartender couldn't, for example, swizzle a Julep in the cup rather than stirring or shaking and dumping. But, as far as the drinker is concerned, I wouldn't say that swizzling is absolutely necessary. I think the same drink, and any desired visual effect could be achieved via other means if that's what the bartender wanted to do. But why not swizzle?

Certainly swizzling can be useful if there is muddled mint or something in the bottom of the glass that the bartender would like to leave disturb, but as far as I can tell very few swizzles feature mint or any muddled material at all.

It doesn't seem to be about a particular combination of elements, but rather a method.  Just contemplating what that method involves leads me to believe the swizzle is essentially defined by presentation...the rhythmic motion (and sound), the frosting of the glass, the undisturbed layers of color (where applicable).  Maybe Sasha's opinion isn't gospel, but I think it strikes closest to the heart of what I know about the drink.

If most what you know about the drink primarily comes from your exposure to Toby's carefully layered presentation, then it's no surprise that you might think this was a fundamental feature of the drink. That's just not my experience. If the heart of what you know about the drink tells you that Sasha is correct in saying that the primary usefulness of swizzling is to leave the muddled stuff in the bottom of the glass, and yet we are faced with the evidence that the majority of swizzles don't have any mint or other muddled stuff down there to stir up, then the conclusion is that this is a mistaken paradigm of the category of drinks.

I think that the points I outlined above (in addition to being served in a tall-narrow glass) pretty well explain what can be called a swizzle. One could certainly make a layered drink, were that a substantial priority, without swizzling. In fact, most people who like to dash the bitters on the top to create a dark layer do so after they have finished swizzling the drink.

I'm not for gilding the lily, or sacrificing good taste for presentation, but presentation certainly enters into the equation of the quality of a cocktail.  That said, I don't think you need to choose.  I quite like Toby's version, which is one of my wife's favorite cocktails, it's both beautiful and delicious.

Who doesn't like good presentation? I just hesitate to suggest that a certain presentation style of relatively recent popularity should be considered a defining characteristic of the drink. I, for example, like the visual effect created when I make an Aviation by sliding the creme de violette down into the bottom of the glass rather than shaking it together with the gin, lemon and maraschino. But if this presentation caught on in a certain family of cocktail bars, I wouldn't want the "blue sunrise effect" to be thought of as a necessary or defining component of the drink. More to the point, I wouldn't want bartenders to replace the lemon juice with lime juice because it made the "blue sunrise effect" stand out better visually. And I would suggest that this scenario is somewhat analogous to using white rum in a Queen's Park Swizzle because it makes a layering effect look better.
Samuel Lloyd Kinsey

#48 Mattmvb

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Posted 25 June 2009 - 09:03 PM

I'm currently somewhat snowed under with work at the moment - we're converting our small upstairs bar into a Tiki themed offering, opening next weekend.

Having a simple swizzle on the menu was important for me. It obviously matches the ethos, I'm also hoping it will help the staff to understand the suddenly massively increased range of rums they have at their disposal.

The house swizzle will be:

50ml English Harbour 5
25ml Lemon Juice
12.5ml Passionfruit syrup
dash Angostura bitters
(+ some simple if the customer's pallette requirs it)

I want to encourage the guys to stick to that general formula but play with it - use different rums, different flavoured syrups/falernum/liqueurs/bitters/citrus etc. They're all good enough to make sure that a quality drink will be the outcome, and will hopefully get a better understanding of how different rums (or bitters etc) change the profile of a drink before they start changing less forgiving specs. I should add that this would be done with the customer's knowledge and approval.

WRT the white rum vs demerara thing that was mentioned earlier, I feel it really does depend on how you're classifying a demerara rum. We tend to think of them as heavier than your average rum and at least golden in colour, often more towards navy rums. Surely though, a demerara rum is just a rum that comes from the demerara region of Guyana - or at least made in the same style. At this moment I'm actually drinking a daiquiri made with a white demerara rum. (El Dorado 3yo. As an irrelevant bit of trivia, I'm told that it's made at the only distillery that still has wooden pot and wooden column stills). Bloody good it is too!

Who doesn't like good presentation? 


I couldn't agree more with that - as the old cliché says, you taste first with your eyes. Of course the quality of the drink is the most important thing, but if I had two identical drinks where one was presented beautifully with a bit of theatre and the other just chucked in a glass, I know which one I'm going to choose.

I've just had a thought about swizzle sticks - you could make them out of sticks of liquorice root. This should gently change the flavour profile of the drink as it's being consumed, which is a technique I've used to good effect in the past with green chillis. I'll try this out early next week, it's one of those things which seems like a good idea but may well not work at all. If anyone has any thoughts or experience on this I'd love to hear about it!

Cheers,

Matt

#49 slkinsey

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Posted 26 June 2009 - 12:18 PM

WRT the white rum vs demerara thing that was mentioned earlier, I feel it really does depend on how you're classifying a demerara rum. We tend to think of them as heavier than your average rum and at least golden in colour, often more towards navy rums.  Surely though, a demerara rum is just a rum that comes from the demerara region of Guyana - or at least made in the same style. At this moment I'm actually drinking a daiquiri made with a white demerara rum.

I think it depends on what you mean by "demerara rum." I am not an authority on this subject by any means, but I am given to understand by those who are that many of the rum-producing areas of the world are now producing rums which do not particularly accord with their traditional styles. So, for example, when one sees a recipe in Charles Baker calling for "Jamaica rum" he was not talking about something like Appleton V/X, but rather the funky darker rums that were the original characteristic style of that island (think W&N with some age).

I don't know how this would apply to something like a modern, white rum from the demerara region -- but, again, I am given to understand that the QPS calls for something in the stylistic area of Lemon Hart. This is not to say that a sort of QPS can't be made with, say, Brugal white -- and I'm sure this drink would be delicious. But it wouldn't be the same. Likewise, you could make a sort of 'Ti Punch with Ron Zacapa instead of rhum agricole. Good, but not the same.

Rum is tricky that way, because the stylistic range is so vast. Subbing one rum for another can change the fundamental character of a recipe in a way that changing brands of gin usually will not.
Samuel Lloyd Kinsey

#50 Mattmvb

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Posted 27 June 2009 - 10:02 PM

Rum is tricky that way, because the stylistic range is so vast.  Subbing one rum for another can change the fundamental character of a recipe in a way that changing brands of gin usually will not.

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Couldn't agree more, it's one of the reasons why rum is my favourite mixing spirit. An excercise I carry out with new staff is to make a few daiquiris using different styles of rum to demonstrate that there's serious thought required when making a recipe that doesn't call for a specific rum. I also do the same thing using different syrups/sugars (eg simple/demerara/muscovado etc) to show the effect that different sugars can have on a drink - both for flavour and appearance.

Cheers,

Matt

#51 KD1191

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Posted 30 June 2009 - 08:59 AM

I think we have two different discussions going on here, which is slightly muddling (hah) the topic...one is on the history/authenticity/perfection of the QPS, and one is on what defines a swizzle in general. The conflation of the the two may be causing some confusion. I'll try to address swizzles in general first, then move on to the QPS.

Tradition and showmanship certainly play a part.  The other effect of swizzling is that the agitation rapidly chills the drink.  Think of it as a kind of "shaking in the glass."  There is no reason a bartender couldn't, for example, swizzle a Julep in the cup rather than stirring or shaking and dumping.  But, as far as the drinker is concerned, I wouldn't say that swizzling is absolutely necessary.  I think the same drink, and any desired visual effect could be achieved via other means if that's what the bartender wanted to do. But why not swizzle?

Certainly swizzling can be useful if there is muddled mint or something in the bottom of the glass that the bartender would like to leave disturb, but as far as I can tell very few swizzles feature mint or any muddled material at all.

This is exactly what I read Sasha's statement to say. The full quote is, "Mr. Petraske regards swizzling as simply a more controlled way of stirring. 'It’s a way of not disturbing the muddled stuff that’s at the bottom,' he said. 'Aside from that, I can’t think of any difference it makes.'" Swizzling is just a way of stirring. As you say, it doesn't effect much of anything from the drinkers perspective, once the drink is composed. If you're not sitting at the bar, you'd have little/no way of knowing whether you had a generic swizzle or some fancy rum punch. For example, earlier in the article, there is this: "'There really isn’t any difference between a simple rum punch and a swizzle except the technique used for making them,' Mr. Remsberg said." In this, Remsberg is just echoing Baker, who said, "Practically any Planter's Punch, if multiplied slightly in quantity & swizzled in a bowl or pitcher, becomes a 'Swizzle'. Don't be misled by the contradictory terms. A swizzle foundation could be any of the Planter's Punches given here." So, it seems we agree that swizzling doesn't change the taste of the drink in any way that couldn't be accomplished in other means. All this just furthers my belief that what constitutes a swizzle is all in the action/method. The only thing I might add to your list of requirements is the frosting effect of the serving vessel. Though, maybe you intended this to be implied by the combination of items 1-3.

If most what you know about the drink primarily comes from your exposure to Toby's carefully layered presentation, then it's no surprise that you might think this was a fundamental feature of the drink.  That's just not my experience.  If the heart of what you know about the drink tells you that Sasha is correct in saying that the primary usefulness of swizzling is to leave the muddled stuff in the bottom of the glass, and yet we are faced with the evidence that the majority of swizzles don't have any mint or other muddled stuff down there to stir up, then the conclusion is that this is a mistaken paradigm of the category of drinks.

I think that the points I outlined above (in addition to being served in a tall-narrow glass) pretty well explain what can be called a swizzle.  One could certainly make a layered drink, were that a substantial priority, without swizzling.  In fact, most people who like to dash the bitters on the top to create a dark layer do so after they have finished swizzling the drink.

Here's where I think we get into some confusion regarding swizzles in general vs. the QPS. I'm not under the impression that all or most swizzles contain muddled ingredients, or that they all must be layered. However, specificially with regard to the QPS, I believe that if properly composed it will present a layered effect. I've been waiting for you to present some primary or secondary source to the contrary. I gave you the benefit of the doubt given your obvious tenure here, but I've seen no evidence to back it up. So, for now I'll stand by the recipe/pictures in the NYT article linked above, my general experience drinking the QPS in several bars (not just Toby's btw), and another article I found featuring Marcos Tello (The Edison in L.A. - and winner of the St. Germain competition at Flatiron Lounge yesterday, congrats Marcos). Of the QPS, he says, "it 'must be made properly with Caribbean rum to get it right...[i]t also looks like a green, white and red flag-it’s simply a beautiful drink.'" Given the volume of evidence I've seen on the layered QPS, I guess I'll stand in disagreement with you until such time as you present a source. I'm not as opposed to your supposition that demerara rum is essential to a QPS (for, you could get a layered effect with demerara, perhaps not as striking, but still). However, none of the recipes I've seen insist on demerara.

Who doesn't like good presentation?  I just hesitate to suggest that a certain presentation style of relatively recent popularity should be considered a defining characteristic of the drink.  I, for example, like the visual effect created when I make an Aviation by sliding the creme de violette down into the bottom of the glass rather than shaking it together with the gin, lemon and maraschino.  But if this presentation caught on in a certain family of cocktail bars, I wouldn't want the "blue sunrise effect" to be thought of as a necessary or defining component of the drink.  More to the point, I wouldn't want bartenders to replace the lemon juice with lime juice because it made the "blue sunrise effect" stand out better visually. And I would suggest that this scenario is somewhat analogous to using white rum in a Queen's Park Swizzle because it makes a layering effect look better.

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Here, we segue into the discussion of tradition generally, which is fine, but is not an unquestionable good. Certainly, I'm open to the possibility that the QPS was a blended mess when it was initially conceived, and that it used the darkest rum available. That doesn't mean this is the optimal method of preparing the drink, or even a very good one. The "certain family" of bars preparing the QPS in the method I'm familar with now contains cocktailian bars from NYC, to Chicago and L.A. It's getting to be quite extended. Does that mean they are right? Certainly, no. But, I will wait for some reason to question the breadth and proliferation of this style other than your very good word.

Still, if there exists some earlier recipe that insists on demerara rum or forbids layering must these places cease calling their drink a Queen's Park Swizzle? Baker called for Jamaican rum in his swizzles, but he said in his recipe for Planter's Punch (unswizzled swizzle) that "Barbados, Demerara, Martinique, Haitian or Cuban run, can always replace Jamaica." And, presentations options that enhance the experience of a drink without diminishing the flavor are certainly a plus.

Edited by KD1191, 30 June 2009 - 09:48 AM.

True rye and true bourbon wake delight like any great wine...dignify man as possessing a palate that responds to them and ennoble his soul as shimmering with the response.

DeVoto, The Hour

#52 vice

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Posted 30 June 2009 - 09:54 AM

Given the volume of evidence I've seen on the layered QPS, I guess I'll stand in disagreement with you until such time as you present a source.  I'm not as opposed to your supposition that demerara rum is essential to a QPS (for, you could get a layered effect with demerara, perhaps not as striking, but still).  However, none of the recipes I've seen insist on demerara.

From David Wondrich's Equire Drinks column (link):

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).

I would only add that I see no reason not to use the overproof as long as the recipe is adjusted to bring the final alcohol content within reason.
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#53 slkinsey

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Posted 30 June 2009 - 10:36 AM

Just so.

And also note from Dave's Esquire column that the bitters are not dashed on at the top for a layered effect, nor is the mint muddled.

Neither of these techniques is employed in this more historical recipe either, which I note calls for "dark rum."

KD1191, I was around when swizzlemania was running through the NYC bars and everyone was making them (which, of course, wasn't all that long ago). I daresay I was drinking swizzles when the whole layered effect thing caught on. Certainly it's not the case that everyone was making them layered even as recently as 5 years ago, whereas now it seems to be common practice. Of course, we should be mindful of the fact that the high-end cocktailian community was very small at that time, and still continues branch from only a few broadly interconnected trees. Toby Maloney, for example, was one of the first bartenders I knew who made layered swizzles. Lo and behold, Toby worked at Milk & Honey and Pegu Club and any number of other important cocktail bars. Lo and behold again, Toby has been sprouting up bars all across America, including places like Chicago and Minneapolis and Nashville. Lo and behold, there has been a lot of cross-talk and inspiration and influence between NYC cocktailian bartenders and Seattle cocktailian bartenders. Lo and behold, lots of the 'tenders in Los Angeles have come from or been heavily influenced by people from NYC and Seattle. Understanding this, it shouldn't be a surprise that the layered presentation caught on. Look how fast the Last Word made its way from Zig Zag to eGullet to Pegu Club and then throughout the cocktailian community.

Again, I don't think there's anything wrong with making a QPS, or indeed any kind of swizzle, with a layered effect. It looks cool. But I hesitate to say that it's necessary, and I don't advocate making compromises as to ingredients in service of a layered effect. This goes back to my original comment, which is that I don't think it's a good idea to use a white, Cuban-style rum in a QPS simply because it makes the layered effect look better. Is it a good drink? Probably. But replacing demerara rum with white Cuban-style rum in a QPS is like replacing bonded rye whiskey with white dog in a Manhattan. And I think we would agree that vermouth and white dog would not be a Manhattan.

I also think it's meaningfully incorrect and not particularly understanding of the tradition to suggest that the main utility of swizzling is the facilitation of layering effects -- especially in consideration of the fact that people have been swizzling drinks for far longer than the layered effects have been in vogue. Indeed, one of the most common swizzling techniques I have seen involves spinning the swizzle stick back and forth while simultaneously plunging it up and down in the glass.
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#54 vice

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Posted 30 June 2009 - 11:13 AM

Indeed, one of the most common swizzling techniques I have seen involves spinning the swizzle stick back and forth while simultaneously plunging it up and down in the glass.

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Indeed. Nicely demonstrated under 'Ethos' on Pegu's website. Not a swizzle being swizzled, but the technique's the same.
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#55 KD1191

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Posted 30 June 2009 - 11:41 AM

KD1191, I was around when swizzlemania was running through the NYC bars and everyone was making them (which, of course, wasn't all that long ago).  I daresay I was drinking swizzles when the whole layered effect thing caught on.  Certainly it's not the case that everyone was making them layered even as recently as 5 years ago, whereas now it seems to be common practice.  Of course, we should be mindful of the fact that the high-end cocktailian community was very small at that time, and still continues branch from only a few broadly interconnected trees.  Toby Maloney, for example, was one of the first bartenders I knew who made layered swizzles.  Lo and behold, Toby worked at Milk & Honey and Pegu Club and any number of other important cocktail bars.  Lo and behold again, Toby has been sprouting up bars all across America, including places like Chicago and Minneapolis and Nashville.  Lo and behold, there has been a lot of cross-talk and inspiration and influence between NYC cocktailian bartenders and Seattle cocktailian bartenders.  Lo and behold, lots of the 'tenders in Los Angeles have come from or been heavily influenced by people from NYC and Seattle.  Understanding this, it shouldn't be a surprise that the layered presentation caught on.  Look how fast the Last Word made its way from Zig Zag to eGullet to Pegu Club and then throughout the cocktailian community.

Point taken.

Again, I don't think there's anything wrong with making a QPS, or indeed any kind of swizzle, with a layered effect.  It looks cool.  But I hesitate to say that it's necessary, and I don't advocate making compromises as to ingredients in service of a layered effect.  This goes back to my original comment, which is that I don't think it's a good idea to use a white, Cuban-style rum in a QPS simply because it makes the layered effect look better.  Is it a good drink?  Probably.  But replacing demerara rum with white Cuban-style rum in a QPS is like replacing bonded rye whiskey with white dog in a Manhattan.  And I think we would agree that vermouth and white dog would not be a Manhattan.


I actually agree with all of this. There are a whole lot of options between demerara and white, though. And, what I said about the layers was that I would not consider the drink artfully/purposefully composed without them. A non-layered QPS could certainly be just as tasty, but I'd feel it would have a strike against it, when it could have been far more beautifully presented with a bit more attention from the bartender.

I also think it's meaningfully incorrect and not particularly understanding of the tradition to suggest that the main utility of swizzling is the facilitation of layering effects -- especially in consideration of the fact that people have been swizzling drinks for far longer than the layered effects have been in vogue.  Indeed, one of the most common swizzling techniques I have seen involves spinning the swizzle stick back and forth while simultaneously plunging it up and down in the glass.

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Not sure I ever said that, either. As I was trying to get across, I believe the main utility of swizzling is as an alternate method of stirring (which can where applicable be used to create layers), which from a end product stand point generally varies very little for any of other methods of stirring. It is a treat for the senses other than the tongue...the act of swizzling is appealing visually and aurally.
True rye and true bourbon wake delight like any great wine...dignify man as possessing a palate that responds to them and ennoble his soul as shimmering with the response.

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#56 KD1191

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Posted 30 June 2009 - 11:42 AM

From David Wondrich's Equire Drinks column (link):


Thanks for the link.
True rye and true bourbon wake delight like any great wine...dignify man as possessing a palate that responds to them and ennoble his soul as shimmering with the response.

DeVoto, The Hour

#57 eje

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Posted 02 July 2009 - 10:14 AM

Been struggling with the Mojito recently.

I'd been making them and thought them OK, but not outstanding.

After reading this topic, I started thinking of the Mojito, more or less, as a swizzle, and am much more pleased with the result. In fact, I think they rock.

Cheers!
---
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#58 vice

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Posted 02 July 2009 - 10:29 AM

pray tell, how are you making them?
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#59 thirtyoneknots

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Posted 02 July 2009 - 10:53 AM

Been struggling with the Mojito recently.

I'd been making them and thought them OK, but not outstanding.

After reading this topic, I started thinking of the Mojito, more or less, as a swizzle, and am much more pleased with the result.  In fact, I think they rock.

Cheers!

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I thought that would make it a 'Draque'
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#60 slkinsey

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Posted 02 July 2009 - 11:51 AM

Mojito Criollo, I'd say.
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