Walking into a cocktail bar for the first time and finding a drink you know you’ll love can often be a daunting task. Many patrons, when presented with a finely crafted, but often complex menu of cocktail options, simply revert to what they know: vodka soda, whiskey on the rocks, or classic cocktails such as the Mojito, which would hopefully be a safe choice.

As a bartender, one of the many pleasures of the trade is to surprise a guest with something that is similar, but unexpected, and likely a lot more interesting than their original request, should they put their trust in you. The Queens Park Swizzle is one of those home-run drinks that couldn’t be any simpler and is always a crowd pleaser. Of course, the only problem is that once a customer receives one, everyone else in the room wants to order the same thing.  

Though this is not a complex drink, it is traditionally made via a unique process of “swizzling.” This involves a slender wooden-pronged stick whittled from trees in Martinique to allow for it to sink down into crushed ice and spin to mix the ingredients without disturbing a visually pleasing tri-color effect from the green mint, white ice and red bitters. Despite the heavy dose of bitters dashed on top of this drink, the guest should only taste a hint of that flavor compared to the rum, lime, sugar and mint mixture where the straw is pulling from at the bottom of the glass. A proper swizzling technique helps make this possible.

Though ideal for cooling off from tropical heat, as many travelers likely did back in the 1930’s at the Queens Park Hotel in Trinidad, I also found the QPS to be the perfect late-evening respite at one of Austin’s finest new establishments, Weather Up. Taking refuge in this outpost’s dark, golden glow, it was comforting to find an old stand-by on the menu and that the Queens Park Swizzle will continue to surprise and delight guests for years to come.