Green Swizzle (1910)

Page Stephens hpst at EARTHLINK.NET
Fri Sep 5 22:13:29 UTC 2003

Having lived in Trinidad for some time in the late 1960s we drank mostly rum
with whatever we could cut it with my guess is that a  "green swizzle" is a
drink designed for the tourist trade and not a drink which any native of the
island might drink if only because it would take too much time to do the

Rum and 7Up fine, Rum and Coca Cola, Rum straight up, and even that most
disgusting of all drinks rum and coconut water OK  but I am not able to
remember any native Trinidadian who drank any mixed drink which included
such explicit instructions. We just took our rum straight or with the
minimum of mixes.

It is possible that the Brits who worked on the island as employees of oil
companies and who rarely left their compounds and tourists did drink such
complicated concoctions but believe me when I tell you that those of us who
lived outside such protected areas did not if only because we could not
afford to go to a bar which could afford to hire a bar tender who could mix
one for us. James, a Chinese bartender/owner with whom I became a close
friend in Gasparillo would just bring out a bottle of rum with something
like 7Up or a bottle of Carib beer and serve it to us. I do not think that
if anyone had asked James for a  "green swizzle" he would have known what
the hell they were asking him for any more than any other bar tender on the
island except perhaps for those who worked at the Trinidad Hilton.

Us natives and as an antropologist I lived outside the compounds I  have
some credentials on the subject ate and drank all too much on occasion but
believe me that until this thread I had never heard of a  "green swizzle".

Page Stephens

----- Original Message -----
From: <Bapopik at AOL.COM>
Sent: Thursday, September 04, 2003 10:56 PM
Subject: Green Swizzle (1910)

> ---------------------- Information from the mail
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> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       Bapopik at AOL.COM
> Subject:      Green Swizzle (1910)
> --------------------------------------------------------------------------
>    There are 75 Google hits for "Green Swizzle."    Wodehouse mentioned
> drink.  This particular swizzle, though famous, is not in the OED.
>    2 February 1910, WASHINGTON POST, pg. 3, col. 2:
>    The Green Swizzle of the West Indies; a combination of Rum, Lime Juice,
> c., that will please the palate of the most fastidious; a favorite drink
> afternoon teas and receptions.
>    Per bottle, $1.50
> To Kalon Wine Co.
> 615 14th St., N. W.
> by Lindon Bates, Jr.
> Boston:  Houghton Mifflin Company
> 1912
> Pg. 72:  We are introduced to the renowned "green swizzle"--a liquid whose
> translucent tinge fills the bottom of the glass, the green shading
> into the dark red of bitters near the surface.  Gin, lime, and soda have
> into its making, and the star-shaped swizzle-stick has been twirled within
>  Its taste is unique; its action _suaviter in modo, fortiter in re_.
>    Green swizzles have a marked effect on people's conversational ability.
> Stevenson recounts stories of his start in the Indian Civil Service, under
> WIlliam Willcox,...

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