The History Of The Rum Swizzle
Swizzles originated in the West Indies to mix drinks and function in a similar way to a wire whisk. A Swizzle stick is a branch from a swizzle bush whose larger branches have 4 or 5 smaller branches forking off the end. These larger branches are cut off, and smaller branches are trimmed to form a kind of propeller on the end. The propeller end is placed in the drink, and the stick is rapidly twirled between the palms to mix any drink. Trader Vic’s 1948 and 1972 Bartenders Guide states that every drink in the west indies is swizzled, even chocolate milk. Most swizzle cocktails are rum-based since Rum is the most prominent spirit in the Caribbean. It also means that there is no single canon rum swizzle recipe. There are as many rum swizzle recipes as bartenders in the West Indies.
You don’t have to have a swizzle stick to make a rum swizzle. A shaker will work just fine (better, actually). If you really want to recreate the swizzle experience but don’t want to spend $20 on a metal or wooden swizzle stick, then a mini wire whisk works too, and that only costs $3. Definitely the most niche, rarely used, and easily substituted with other mixing devices.