How to Make a Bermuda Rum Swizzle

Since the weather is idyllic around here, let's ditch the winter drinks and pull out something bright and summery.

See also: How to Muddle Drinks With Your Blender

What better tipple for days like these than a Rum Swizzle, straight from the subtropical island of Bermuda?

The Rum Swizzle has a long history on Bermuda. The very first ones were served back in the mid-19th Century. They were simpler drinks back then, often little more than rum and water, mixed by vigorously swirling a forked stick in the drink. As time went by, aromatic ingredients and juices were added, and the drink has become the unofficial national drink of the island. It's said that the island with 65 thousand people living on it has 66 thousand opinions on what makes the perfect Rum Swizzle. If anyone has a claim on making a truly official version, it's the Swizzle Inn (no relation to the one on 16th Street and Bethany Home), the oldest pub in Bermuda.

The natural base for the Rum Swizzle is dark rum, preferably from Bermuda, which almost certainly means good old Gosling's. If you already have a different dark rum in stock like the standby Myers's from Jamaica, it will also get the job done with aplomb. Two rums are better than one, so in goes some gold rum, too.

The secret ingredient to make the swizzle pop is falernum, a sweet Caribbean rum-based liqueur with notes of lime and tropical spice. There's nothing quite like it; if you don't have some there's no real substitute. Plain simple syrup works in a pinch (if you have some vanilla syrup, even better), but the drink will miss a little je ne sais quoi. Beyond that, all you need is a few juices and a dash of bitters, and you're all set.

Last is the matter of mixing the drink. Around Bermuda, people use forked swizzle sticks, either straight from a bush, or patterned to resemble the real thing. Sadly, they're almost impossible to find once you're outside the Caribbean. But we can easily make it without a real swizzle stick.

The easiest way for your average cocktailian to mix a swizzle is to put a bar spoon in the drink, grasp the stem between both palms, and then rub your hands together vigorously to spin the spoon. If you happen to have a milkshake machine, it will give you a perfect swizzle in record time. A battery-operated milk frother also does a decent job. Or you can cheat and chuck everything in the blender with ice for a few seconds until everything gets barely slushy. I won't tell.

Given that everyone in Bermuda thinks that their recipe is the best, it goes to follow that tweaking the recipe to fit your personal preferences is a given. I've given you a couple of basic twists on the base recipe to get you started.

Beware the extra-strength version for a couple of reasons. First, it makes a quite strong drink even stronger. Second, if the conditions are right, the condensation on the glass can freeze solid and become nearly impossible to pick up. This can be easily prevented by wrapping the glass with a napkin before diving in. Or swizzling in, as the case may be.

Bermuda Rum Swizzle 1 ounce Bermuda dark rum 1 ounce gold rum 1/2 ounce triple sec 1 ounce lemon juice 1-1/4 ounces pineapple juice 1-1/4 ounces orange juice 1/2 ounce falernum (or sugar syrup) 1 dash Angostura bitters

Pour everything into a tall glass two-thirds full of crushed ice. Swizzle vigorously until the glass frosts. Add more crushed ice to fill the glass.

Variations: Bermuda Rum Swizzle, Straight Up: Blend everything with ice cubes at high speed for 5 seconds. Strain with a fine-mesh strainer into a cocktail glass. Extra-Strength Bermuda Rum Swizzle: Replace the dark rum with Gosling's 151-proof rum. Or, reduce the rums to 3/4 ounce each and add 1/2 to 3/4 ounce 151-proof Demerara rum.

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