Shake, shake, shake, shake-uh-shake it!

I should take a shower. But I'd rather blog. I've had about 87 cups of cranberry juice this afternoon, so I'm really hopped up on the Q. Or hyped up on the Q. (What is Q, by the way? I hope it's nothing bad...) Either way, I'm pretty sure my urinary tract is in tip-top shape. My glomerular filtration rate must be off the charts. I mean, but still good. Moving on to another drink, however. Anyone ever heard of a Queen's Park Swizzle? Anyone know what a swizzle is? Yeah, it's not a dance move or something a rapper uses to cleverly rhyme with words he made up and then trademarked to go on to make millions and influence thousands of unsuspecting young children. It's not. I didn't know what a swizzle was either until a few weeks ago when I went home to see my brother, Noah, who had flown in to visit my parents for a few days down in the Chuck. By definition, a swizzle is "any of the various tall, frothy mixed drinks made usually of rum and lime juice and sugar shaken with ice" or "a tall, traditionally rum based cocktail filled with crushed ice. A stirring rod or swizzle stick is quickly rotated between the palm of the hands to form a frost on the glass." Now, I'm no lush, but... it's AWESOME.

Granted, we were working in less than perfect conditions with less than all of the proper tools, but we made do. Noah taught me how to make a Queen's Park Swizzle and a Bourbon Smash. Annnnd boy did we make some super sippers. They dance on the tongue and sing in the belly. I'm talking about my fav, though. The QP swizzle. I'm no NYC bartender, but through my research I've discovered that a perfect Queen's Park Swizzle would be in a Collin's glass, (tall and skinny, like me. Not.), with true Demerara sugar syrup or "sugar in the raw"--not the white stuff you plop in your tea--a nice 8 year rum, (like a nice sea bass), fresh squeezed lime juice, fresh mint leaves, real crushed ice, (think Sonic ice), and a few dashes of Angostura bitters. {Bitters is "a distillation of aromatic herbs, barks, roots, and plants, steeped in alcohol." It's approximately 45% alcohol, so not something you want to drink outright, but just used in small amounts to add flavor to a drink or food. Much like vanilla extract. Angostura is made from roots. And some other stuff. It's good, don't worry.}

So. First things first. Equipment: tins, jigger, muddler, swizzle stick, Collin's glass or the next best thing, straw. Ingredients: crushed ice, lime juice, mint, Demerara syrup, 8 year rum, Angostura bitters, magic. Numero uno, you have to make your syrup. Two parts sugar to one part water, and depending on how many people you're planning on serving, adjust accordingly. Stick that puppy on a stove top and give it a good stir until all the sugar has dissolved and you've got, well, syrup. It keeps in the fridge, so don't be afraid of making too much.

Next, yank a bunch of mint leaves off your stalk, wash them well and shake off the excess water. Drop 'em in the bottom of your tins, (you know, the shaker thingy). Measure 3/4 oz of your Demerara syrup in your jigger (excuse me?) and pour it in. Don't worry if all of it doesn't go in. You'll be pouring in lime juice next so it will get the rest of it out. Now. This step is very important. At this point all you've got is mint leaves and syrup in the bottom of your tins. You need to muddle the mint leaves so as to bring out the peppermint oils and infuse the syrup with the flavor of the mint. I said muddle not crush into oblivion. So. Take your muddler and gently, but firmly, press down on the mint leaves. There. Now you've done it. Next, measure 3/4 oz of lime juice in your jigger (say what?) and pour that into the tins. See? Got all the leftover syrup. Then measure 2 oz of rum in your jigger (who dat?) and pour that sucker in. Now, close up your tins and shake the ever-living life out of that thing. You should feel it in your triceps. If you don't break a sweat, you're not doing it right. You're basically trying to incorporate everything into one delicious, inseparable liquid--like pouring two cylinders of sand into a box during a wedding ceremony. Except not. So, then, you grab your Collin's glass with your swizzle stick at the ready, pour in the drink from the tins, making sure to get all that delicious mint out, fill that glass up a little over halfway with ice, stick your swizzle stick down in the ice (pardon me?) and quickly rotate it between the heels of your hands until a frost forms on the outside of the glass. Once you're there, now you've REALLY done it. Add more ice to the top of the drink, three or four dashes of Angostura bitters, a sprig of mint and a sexy black straw and you are good to go. Seems complicated? Do it a few times and you'll be taking orders in no time. Or getting mentioned in the New York Times. Ahem, Noah, ahem.

Here's mine. Disclaimer: this was probably the second one I've ever made, it was not in the proper receptacle, and the straws were more like Coca-cola-in-a-glass-bottle straws instead of swanky-NYC-bar straws. Oh. freakin'. well. It was still delicious.

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