The one seminar that really didn’t thrill me at Tales of the Cocktail this year was on swizzling. It was the third Tales seminar by Stanislav Vadrnas that I have attended, so I have learned that his presentations are hit-or-miss.

The first irritation was that he made us wait 20 minutes while he passed around toilet paper, then got all upset and serious when people laughed about him calling it his best friend. I guess it’s one of those temperamental artist things, but I’m not sure that he has earned the right to act that way.

He went on for a while about the daily ritual of “wiping you ass,” and the importance of how we use the tool (toilet paper). His point: on the toilet, we are all the same, none more important than anyone else. The reason he made this point at length: I have no idea.

What I managed to learn about the swizzle stick:

– The  Italian work Sprezzatura means “to hide conscious effort and appear to accomplish difficult actions with casual nonchalance,” and should be at the back of your mind when swizzling for a guest.
–Swizzling serves many purposes (aerating, blending, frosting, cooling, diluting).
–You should practice the technique until you have internalized it.
–The swizzle stick started as a traditional cooking tool in India and Slovakia.
–You can make your own from the branch of a christmas tree (might make a good holiday article).
– Stan believes that it got its name from a combination of the drinks Switchel and Fizz
–The recipe for a 151 Swizzle:

  • 15ml fresh lime juice
  • 15ml petite cane sugar syrup
  • 2 dashes Pernod Pastis
  • 1 dash Angostura Bitters
  • 45 ml 151 Demorara rum
  • Garnish with a cinnamon stick abd dust with nutmeg

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