The only use for the timber of the swizzle tree (Quararibea turbinata) that I can find is for making goad sticks (figure 1).

Fig. 1. Goad stick with swizzle haft.

However, ‘swizzles’ are concoctions that originated on the island of Saint Kitts in the Caribbean in the early eighteenth-century. Swizzles can be rum-based libations or roborant drinks, the common component being an aromatic twig of the swizzle tree (figures 1 & 2).

Fig. 1. Swizzle (Quararibea turbinata).

Fig. 2. José Celestino Mutis, Quararibea turbinata, Real Expedición Botánica al Nuevo Reino de Granada, t. 2170 (1783-1817).

The drinks are stirred with a ‘swizzle stick’ (twig) by vigorously rolling it between the palms of the hands which action imparts its unique flavour and fragrance to the drink. 

Below is a recipe for a restorative swizzle, of which I have been taking a daily draft for many years. Sadly, I do not have a swizzle tree in the garden from which to break off a stirring twig. Natheless, the elixir is sapid, refreshing and particularly good for one’s health.

Restorative swizzle:

In a 700ml (1-1/2 pint) jar, add:
1 tablespoon of raw honey (preferably active manuka honey, if available).
2 tablespoons of unfiltered cider vinegar (with The Mother).
2 slices of raw ginger (or squeeze out two inches of ‘toothpaste’ minced ginger).
Top up with cold water, stir and refrigerate.
Shake or stir before drinking.

Jack Plane



About Jack Plane

Formerly from the UK, Jack is a retired antiques dealer and self-taught woodworker, now living in Australia.
This entry was posted in Distractions, Furniture Timbers and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to Swizzle

  1. Ron Aylor says:

    A most interesting post. Thank you!


  2. Eric R says:

    I believe that I will have to give that recipe a try.
    A Restorative Twizzle might be just what the doctor ordered..
    Thank you Jack Plane.


  3. Matthew Hall says:

    My further reading tells me that as swizzle sticks are commercially made of plastic, we now add bitters to the drink to get the bitterness that would have come from the bark.
    Cheers Jack, informative as always.


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