Consider the lowly swizzle stick, a tool necessary for stirring your cocktail. All around the world, they are handed out with drinks by the thousands. As one provider for the cocktail and drink industry stated, cocktails are in fashion again, making those little parasols and interesting cocktail sticks an in-demand item.
But where did the idea for the swizzle stick come from, anyway? When did this item become a regular part of the mixed drink scene? The best information available on this subject shows that this tool was actually a stick, in the beginning. Some histories record that it was taken from trees on Caribbean islands and made its way to England and the U.S. (where it was especially popular during Prohibition). It is interesting to note that the small branches of the original tree ended in delicate, finger-like projections.
Swizzle Stick Materials
While a very few of the most demanding drinkers in the world may still employ a real stick to stir their cocktail, the vast majority of stirrers today are made from colourful plastic. They are also offered in a number of shapes, including the ever popular sword. A few individuals have even taken to collecting the different types of stirring devices, including those used as a free marketing item by businesses. There is an association of collectors for this very thing. History records that the word ‘swizzle’ was mentioned as far back as 200 years. But there is evidence that people were using this tool long before it was officially recognised as an item of cocktail equipment. Some followers of this industry state that the stirrer was even more in demand after someone used a small plastic stick to take the olive out of his drink. Tiki bars have also helped rejuvenate interest in the swizzle stick.
Another item on the list of cocktail tools is the shaker, which is not as common as it once was in finer bars and restaurants. But, like the cocktail itself, the shaker is making a comeback. Some historians note that there is evidence of alcohol drinks being shaken centuries ago. The item as we know it began to be used more widely in the mid-19th century. It is not surprising that the first modern-era use of the shaker was probably an accident that occurred when the bartender put together two containers of different sizes and shook the mixture, partly to show off a bit.
So Many Things Available
A number of individuals have tried various designs and have applied for patents on their unique shakers. In the end, a handful of basic types are still being sold and used, along with dozens of different supplies and accessories in the cocktail/drink line. You can buy wooden cocktail sticks, such as those often used for small, edible items, or you can opt for the stirrer with a swirl on top. Straws sometimes do double duty as a stirring device, a good way for the smaller business to save a bit of money. If you need one of the essential cocktail accessories, there are numerous long-standing suppliers waiting to assist you.