When it comes to drinking like a local we’re known for two drinks, the renowned Dark ‘n’ Stormy and the classic Bermudian Rum Swizzle. While swizzling a drink was not started in Bermuda we believe Bermudians perfected it. Here, the Rum swizzle is frothed with a Bermudian swizzle stick cut from an allspice bush or a Quararibea Turbinata also known as The Swizzlestick Tree. They are about six inches long and have several little spikes at the bottom.
The cocktail was first invented in the 18th Century and was really one part rum and 6 parts water (not the strongest of drinks clearly). Over time the recipe changed and swizzle sticks were added to be used as a more primitive blender of sorts. In 1932 the first Bermuda Rum Swizzle was served at the Swizzle Inn. The owners during that time wanted a cocktail to distinguish the inn and the Rum Swizzle fit the bill perfectly and led to the saying “Swizzle Inn, Swagger out!” The drink now consists of Goslings’ Black Seal Rum, Gosling’s Gold Rum, orange juice, pineapple juice, Bermuda falernum and Angostura bitters.
While Gosling’s has been brewing and perfecting its Black Seal Rum for years now, their Gold Seal Rum is their newest product in over 100 years. The soft flavour of the Gold goes perfectly with the full bodied molasses-ey flavour of the Black. Combined with the Gold and Black rums and the juices is Bermuda falernum. This can, you guessed it, only be bought in Bermuda. The cocktail syrup is made from almonds, ginger, lime, allspice, vanilla and cloves. We suggest when departing Bermuda to buy a bottle of Bermuda falernum as it is very difficult to find elsewhere. It can be substituted for grenadine however is it truly a Rum Swizzle then? We’d beg to differ.
Finally there are the Angostura bitters to be added. They originated with Johann Gottlieb Benjamin Seigert who was station in Angostura, Venezuela while he was part of the Prussian army in the 1800s. While there he was interested in the combination of the various herbs and plants growing in the region and began to create different blends into a tonic to boost the health of the troops. Years later when his sons began to assist him they moved their production to Trinidad and hired a sugar technologist. Now their bitter concoction is sold globally and is the same recipe Siegert used in 1824.
It’s tough for us to pick whether the Dark ‘n’ Stormy or the Rum Swizzle is truly Bermuda’s national drink so we’ll just settle for both. If you’re looking to relax and unwind with a Rum Swizzle in your hand we’d suggest stopping by the Swizzle Inn, where it all started to get the true flavour of Bermuda. The Swizzle Inn now has two locations one on 87 South Road in Warwick and the original at 3 Blue Hole Hill in Bailey’s Bay.
Goslings has a great recipe for the delicious Rum Swizzle.