The must-have Tiki bar accessory of 2018 may have been the custom swizzle sticks designed and made by California artist Michael Grider that take flaming cocktails to a new level.
It didn’t take long for these inventive items, priced at $25 each, to sell out on Etsy. Grider’s Torch Swizzle also requires a specially formulated lemon extract “Torch Juice” developed by Grider. Buy four and you got a free Torch Juice Kit.
But if you’re a procrastinator like me, you missed the boat when these first hit the Internet and took off like wildfire. The last batch was shipped in November. These are not mass produced, but hand-sculpted by Grider and then created using a centrifuge and a mold filled with hot metal. After the top is cast around a stainless steel rod, it’s hand-sanded and polished before it’s sent to be plated and receive a copper, nickel, or brass finish. Grider then completes each swizzle with patina, polish and a coat of clear enamel.
I hate to clue more people into this, but what the hell: A limited amount of torch swizzles will be up for grabs on Thursday, Jan. 10, at 6 p.m. (Pacific time). Grider and his wife Karissa promise that a few torches will go online for pre-order. They won’t be available again for a few months due to Michael’s upcoming surgery, so now’s your chance to snag one at the same $25 price tag, plus $15 for the juice kit. The kit includes Torch Juice in a reusable dropper bottle for easy dispensing, two replacement wicks, and four replacement screens. The free kit offers stands if you’re able to snag four torches.
Go to GriderCo.Etsy.com to pre-order
The Torch Swizzle is the perfect item to give your cocktails that added flair to make them stand out from the pack. It’s no surprise that the 2018 release made a splash on social media and pop culture sites such as Boing Boing, Laughing Squid, and Geekologie.
Michael Grider specializes in sand-cast aluminum, brass, and bronze along with cast pewter and zinc in his own foundry. He and Karissa operate Grider Adventure Art out of Santa Maria, Calif. They sell some great custom items including pendants, necklaces, stir sticks and more. My prediction for hot new item of 2019 is the Diver Helmet Mug, released in limited quantity last year and scheduled for to be rolled out again early this year. Follow along online for updates: