According to several sources, swizzle is the National drink of Bermuda. If you’ve had it, you know why – it’s divine. The rum, citrus and ginger make for a refreshing libation.
My friend Ernest, whose family hails from Bermuda, says swizzle is a favorite at Christmas and New Year’s festivities (as well as the Cricket World Cup in the summer months). Frankly, after making this drink, it has already become a staple for me and for entertaining.
This recipe honors the three traditional ingredients of swizzle: dark rum, citrus and sweetener. For rum: use a dark one such as the Bermuda produced Gosling’s Black Seal Rum. The heavier body of darker rums stands firm with the bold flavors of the other ingredients. For citrus: lime, pineapple and orange juice make a slightly tart, yet sweet combo.
And, finally, the sweetener that makes this an A+ cocktail . . . my ginger simple syrup. Although most recipes (including one from the legendary Swizzle Inn in Bermuda) use falernum, a simple syrup infused with almond, ginger and cloves, I could not locate it and knew most of you would have the same problem. So, I improvised and made my own simple syrup that highlighted the ginger and also imparts a nice molasses flavor. It’s good! Next time, I might add a few cloves.
This holiday season I’m glee with my Bermudian Swizzle. Now, if I could just score some cassava pie.
Tidbits on Rum
- The climate of the Caribbean is ideal for growing sugar cane and the region has become the epicenter of the world’s rum production with every major island producing signature rums.
- When spirits such as rum are removed from breathable barrels, where they mature, and are put into bottles, the rum no longer ages. A bottle of seven-year-old rum purchased five years ago is still considered seven years old.
Sources: Tastings.com; Encyclopedia of Food and Culture
Key to making this cocktail is making the ginger simple syrup in advance. Use a dark rum such as Gosling’s Black Seal Rum from Bermuda for an authentic touch.
Serves 4 to 6
6.5 oz. (200 mL) dark rum*
4 oz. fresh lime or lemon juice, strained (about 4-5 lemons or limes)
4 oz. pineapple juice
4 oz. orange juice
4 oz. ginger simple syrup
6 large dashes Angostura Bitters
6 dash Mixed Essence, optional
Lemon, lime or orange rind for garnish
Ginger Simple Syrup (make in advance)
1 cup cane sugar
1 cup water
4 inch piece fresh ginger root, peeled
- Prepare the simple syrup a day in advance or at least a few hours in advance (the longer the ginger steeps, the stronger the ginger taste). Peel ginger and slice very thinly. In a small saucepan, bring the water and ginger to a boil; add the cane sugar and reduce to simmer until sugar is completely dissolved. Let cool. Refrigerate in glass or jar. Note: the cane sugar will give your final drink an added molasses flavor as does the rum since they are both derived from sugar cane.
- Juice lemons or limes and strain to remove seeds and pulp. Measure and mix ingredients in a large pitcher. To serve, shake each serving in a shaker with ice and serve cocktail style with ice or like a martini, without. Garnish with fresh citrus rind, a slice of pineapple or a sprig of mint.
Alcohol: experiment with additional alcohols such as triple sec, flavored rums, brandy, etc.
Citrus: grapefruit, mango, just lime or lemon, someone recommended Hawaiian Punch
Carbonation: club soda or ginger ale.