Bobby Heugel's Weekly Cocktail: The Swizzle
I know what you're thinking. Yes, the swizzle does sound like some crazy drink Snoop would have verbally invented at the height of his popularity. And it wouldn't be the first of his concoctions - gin and juice, anyone? We can see Snoop riding down Santa Monica in a drop-top ' Impala with a blunt in one hand and a rum swizzle in the other with "Nuthin' But a 'G' Thang" blazing from the system. But the swizzle actually pre-dates America's favorite rapper by many decades. It's way older than Snoop, despite the fact that he is now officially a rapping geriatric.
The swizzle takes many shapes and forms. Unlike other drink families, they don't have an identifiable origin or specific standard formula. Traditionally, swizzles contain a spirit (usually rum), lime, falernum (a clove and lime liqueur) and sugar. But they're also frequently made with various spirits, pineapple juice and different liqueurs, and they may contain herbs such as mint. With so many versions out there, it is best to think of "swizzle" as a verb, not a noun. It's more about technique than a specific recipe.
Rum Swizzle (Basic)
Build all ingredients in a Collins glass with crushed ice. Swizzle thoroughly, adding more crushed ice throughout. Garnish with a lime wedge.
To swizzle a drink, place the ingredients in a glass with crushed ice and quickly, but delicately, rotate a swizzlestick by moving your palms back and forth. As the drink is being made, keep adding ice to make the cocktail as cold as possible.
Today, we think of swizzlesticks as tacky plastic spears used to stir a drink as it's consumed. But an authentic swizzlestick comes from the swizzlestick tree (quararibea turbinata), which grows in the Caribbean. They are nearly impossible to find in the United States, unfortunately, but a barspoon is a fine substitute.
While seemingly simple, a great swizzle is a cocktail that must be made with care and attention. Cold, dense crushed ice is essential to this drink's success. So be sure to start with large, solid cubes before breaking down the ice. Crushed ice will initially dilute a cocktail quicker than standard ice, so starting with dense ice is extremely important in limiting this effect. And despite the initial dilution, in the long run, a cocktail packed appropriately over crushed ice will melt less. Slowly swizzling the drink together until frost forms on the outside of the glass helps to fully blend the cocktail while getting it as cold as possible.
Obviously, this isn't just any cocktail you stick in a shaker and strain over crushed ice - it's a type of drink that requires practice, but one that can easily be perfected by those who take the time to make it correctly, use good spirits with fresh juices, and value the role of quality ice in a cocktail. Then again, if you do perfect it, you might have the problem Snoop warned us all about: "Everybody got they cups, but they ain't chipped in." Trust us: When your friends know about your extensive home bar and your swizzle abilities, "This types of shit happens all the time."
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