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Swizzle sticks do more than just help you stir up a cocktail—well-designed cocktail stirrers can add a little character to your drink, too. Think topping off your tiki cocktail with a decorative pineapple on top, or adding a sugar cane stick to a rum drink to add a subtle sweetness. Alternatively, swizzle sticks can help you identify your drink from your friends when you are entertaining a crowd.
Why use a stir stick? Stirring a cocktail helps blend ingredients, and builds texture and retains the correct taste of a cocktail. Simply hold the top between your thumb and finger, and give a hearty stir around the edge of the glass. Today’s swizzle sticks range from vintage-inspired glass stir sticks to festive ones for party settings.
Here are some of the best swizzle sticks available.
Best Overall: Barstow Stainless Steel Beverage Stirrers
One of the most charming parts of these swizzle sticks is they replicate the larger stirrers that bartenders swear craft the best cocktails. At 7.8 inches long, these swizzle sticks are the perfect size for cocktails, but also for stirring coffees and as meat sticks for charcuterie boards.
The paddled end is specifically designed to stir cocktails quickly, while the sphere at the top is crafted to sit perfectly in your hand when stirring. Expert bartenders will advise that the paddled end can also be used to break up chunks of ice in a cocktail. The set of six stainless steel stirrers includes three colors: copper, gold, and silver. All are designed to complement your decor without leaving a metallic aftertaste.
Best Disposable: Juvale Tropical Hawaiian Wood Cocktail Picks
While this list is full of many excellent options for beautifully-designed cocktail picks, in a party setting, you might not want as precious an option. Perfect for larger gatherings, this set of cocktail picks includes 120 durable wooden sticks, all with a quirky pineapple topping. Each swizzle stick is lightweight and the petite pineapple helps you grip the stick while stirring.
These are festive options for summer parties or just a tropical happy hour. Plus, these swizzle sticks are made from eco-friendly materials so they're disposable and biodegradable.
Best Stainless Steel: Fruitsuper Design Cocktail Sticks
Part swizzle stick, part cocktail pick, this set is excellent for martini lovers. The stainless steel picks are great for stirring, yes, but also for garnishing drinks: simply slide the stick through an onion or olive and perch it on your martini glass (or perhaps, add fruit to the stick and drop it in sangria).
What’s particularly appealing about these picks is they come in two different sizes: short sticks (at 4.25 inches long) for lowball glasses, martini glasses, and coupes, and a longer size (7.5 inches long) for highballs and pint glasses. The smaller size includes a smartly-designed bend so it will sit perfectly in an angled glass.
Best Glass: Beachcomber Reusable Glass Stir Sticks
On top of each of these charming swizzle sticks sits a tiny colorful fruit—lemons, oranges, pineapples, and limes. The cheeky illustrations have a breezy coastal vibe to them, making this set an excellent option for a cottage or vacation spot, or for the person who needs a little more sunshine in their life.
The delicate glass construction elevates these cocktail sticks and they'll look great with your best glassware. However, they can snap and break more easily than other options on this list.
Best Candy: KegWorks Raw Sugar Cane Swizzle Sticks
While swizzle sticks are practical at stirring up cocktails in the glass, these raw sugar sticks add another element to a cocktail: a hint of sweetness. Stirring cocktails with sugar cane is a trend that started in Hawaii (thanks to the Tiki movement)—bartenders will add a stick to a strong cocktail to sweeten and enhance the overall flavor. These swizzle sticks are also a great option for meat skewers (try barbecuing chicken or shrimp with them). This particular set of sticks are made of pure sugar cane grown in Hawaii. Each stick is 7 inches tall and comes in packs of 20.
Best Vintage-Inspired: Siren Song Hand-Carved Horn Swizzle Sticks
These hand-carved swizzle sticks are some of the most unique options on the market. Made in Vietnam from ethically-sourced water buffalo horn, every stick has a slightly different color pattern for a completely unique home bar addition. There are two different sets available: a whimsical sea creature set with a lobster, swordfish, and seahorse, or a nautical set with swizzle sticks shaped like a wheel, a sea siren, and sailboat. Each swizzle stick stands around 6 inches high.
Note that though these sticks have a lot of character, they are precious to wash. They cannot go in the dishwasher, and can only be used with cold beverages.
Best Customized: Prodyrne Happy Hour Swizzle Sticks
If you’re entertaining at home and all your guests are drinking the same thing, use these spirited stir sticks to identify each drink. Made of durable acrylic, this wallet-friendly set features tiny cocktail sculptures on the top including mini shakers, bottles of whiskey, and Blue Lagoon cocktails. Each swizzle stick is 8 inches in length—perfect for larger drinks (do note, this option would look a little odd in a rocks glass). At the end of the evening, clean them by placing them in the silverware area of a dishwasher.
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Kate Dingwall is a sommelier and spirits writer. She has been writing about the bar and spirits world for five years and has her BarSmarts and WSET certification.