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Trader Vic's Quote on Swizzles

"Swizzles originated in the West Indies, where everything, including hot chocolate, is swizzled. A swizzle stick is the branch of a tropical bush with three to five forked branches on the end. You insert this in the glass or pitcher and twirl the stem rapidly between the palms of your hands. By rapid swizzling with fine ice, you'll get a good outside frost such as on a Julep. Of course you won't get this frost if you haven't used enough liquor; a generous amount of liquor is important.

Most true Swizzles, because of their origin, call for rum; but nearly all punches can be swizzled. Punches for three or four people can be mixed in a pitcher with fine ice and swizzled until the pitcher frosts, and then poured into tall glasses.

Simple, good, really a good drink."

Historical References

The West India Sketch Book, by Trelawney Wentworth, 1835

"The planters of St. Kitt's have given this mixture the name of swizzle, and sometimes use a stick which has at the end of it three or four short lateral branches to answer the purpose of a chocolate stirrer, with which they produce a froth."

The Maroon, by Mayne Reid, 1864

"The swizzle, a mixture of rum, sugar, water, and lime- juice, was found in a large punch-bowl that stood upon the sideboard..."

Medora Leigh, by Charles Mackay, 1869

"...glorious gin-swizzle, a most tempting beverage, of which every one on board took his share, munching after it a biscuit out of a huge tin-case of them.

The Coolie, His Rights and Wrongs, by Edward Jenkins, 1871

"A swizzle consists of a little water and sugar, a good deal of gin or brandy, and a dessert-spoonful of angostura bitters, into which is thrown some scraped..."

American and other drinks, by Leo Engel, 1878

"It occurred to the Author of this little work, after a conversation with an Indian gentleman, to make a cocktail called in India a Swizzle."

The Washington Post, Sep 9, 1902

"Ever drink a swizzle cocktail? They make them in the West Indies. They are said to cause hair to break out rapidly on the baldest head, and to sweeten the breath after onions. Maybe you don't know what a swizzle is, in the first place. Well, it is a stick that is frayed out at the end you don't take hold of."

Similar Drinks

Swizzle = Stir thoroughly, Churn.


David Embury:

"In making any of the Cobblers, the goblet is first filled with fine ice. If goblets are not available an 8- to 10-ounce Highball glass can be substituted. The ingredients of the drink are not separately shaken but are poured over the ice in the glass, the sugar or liqueur first and the wine or spiritous liquor last. The contents of the glass are then churned with a bar spoon until frost appears on the outside of the glass. Straws are then inserted and the drink is decorated with fruit and mint and served."


"Press the mint in the sugar and water to extract the flavor, add the brandy, and fill the glass two-thirds full of shaved ice. Stir thoroughly, and ornament with a half a slice of orange, and a few fresh sprigs of mint. Serve with a straw." - Jerry Thomas, Brandy Smash


"Fill the glass two-thirds full of shaved ice. Stir well and ornament the top with slices of lemon or lime." - Jerry Thomas, Brandy Fix


Do Daisys counts as Swizzles?

Daisy Recipes

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