Original Swizzle Stick | SAVEUR

The Original Swizzle Stick

Todd Coleman

The swizzle stick, not to be confused with that plastic stirrer the bartender leaves in your lowball glass, is actually an age-old instrument for cocktail making—and a brilliant example of man adapting nature to his most pressing needs. It is the actual branch of the shrub-like Quararibea turbinata, aka the swizzlestick tree, a species indigenous to the Caribbean. The clever islander who first used one of the tree's stalks to mix crushed ice with rum, juice, sugar, spice, or some other combination of harmonious cocktail ingredients, is lost to history. But spun back and forth between the palms of the hands, the namesake stick froths a drink better than any man-made tool out there.