Cocktail & Other Recipes By Spirit Rum Cocktails

Queens Park Swizzle

Queens Park Swizzle cocktail / Tim Nusog

Trinidad’s Queens Park Hotel may have closed in 1996, but its eponymous drink has endured well into the 21st century. It’s not hard to see why: The icy mix of demerara rum, mint, sugar, lime juice, and Angostura bitters has served as a delicious and eye-catching way to cool off since it debuted at the Port of Spain hotel in the early 20th century. Today, the drink is enjoyed on the island and beyond; the Trinidad-based House of Angostura has even angled to make it Trinidad and Tobago’s national drink

A refreshing interplay of rum, lime juice, sugar, and mint make the Queens Park Swizzle similar to the Mojito. In addition to those ingredients, however, it also calls for one of Trinidad’s most famous exports, Angostura bitters, yielding a more aromatic and flavorful drink. It also employs demerara rum rather than the light rum called for in a Mojito. The former is distilled a boat ride away from Trinidad in the country of Guyana, using sugarcane grown on the banks of the Demerara River. (Guyana had a more established rum industry at the time of the drink’s invention.) Known for its rich, earthy, caramelly, and slightly smoky flavors, demerara rum is perhaps most comparable to Jamaican rum; reach for a high-quality bottle such as El Dorado. 

The Queens Park Swizzle is one of the most well-known members of the swizzle cocktail family, drinks named for the tool used in their preparation. The original swizzle stick was made with twigs from forked branches of a South Caribbean evergreen tree; today you’ll still find wooden ones, although likely not made from the original type of tree, as well as metal and plastic versions. To swizzle properly, you’ll need to use crushed ice. After you’ve added your ingredients, fill your glass halfway with the ice and place your palms on either side of the stick’s shaft; slide your hands back and forth to agitate the ingredients until frost forms on the outside of the glass. If you don’t have a swizzle stick on hand, you can also use a bar spoon for this step. 

Of course, half the fun of the Queens Park Swizzle is its dramatic green, gold, and red layers. The swizzle method will ensure the muddled mint stays packed at the bottom, and adding the last two dashes of bitters after mounding the drink with ice produces the top red layer. 

The resulting cocktail is both aromatic and refreshing. Give it a twirl and you’ll understand why Tiki legend Trader Vic declared it “the most delightful form of anesthesia given out today” in 1946.


  • 8-10 mint leaves

  • 3/4 ounce simple syrup

  • 2 ounces demerara rum

  • 1 ounce lime juice, freshly squeezed

  • 4 dashes Angostura bitters, divided

  • Garnish: mint sprig


  1. Add the mint leaves and simple syrup into a Collins glass and gently muddle.

  2. Add the rum, lime juice, and 2 dashes of bitters. Fill the glass nearly full with crushed or pebble ice and swizzle with a swizzle stick or bar spoon until frost forms on the outside of the glass.

  3. Fill the glass with more crushed or pebble ice, mounding slightly above the top of the glass.

  4. Top with 2 dashes bitters.

  5. Garnish with a mint sprig.