Cocktail Umbrellas: Carpe Diem

If there’s one thing I don’t need is five hundred cocktail parasols. I don’t operate a Tiki Bar. My cocktail preferences run to martinis , which aren’t traditionally decorated with much more frivolous than an olive or  twist — or in my favorite version, the Gibson, a cocktail onion. My ex-bartender husband agrees that they belong in festive cocktails sweet and fruity enough to invite over-quick consumption, and he maintains that the parasol serves as a cheerful warning to slow down, Conchita. Or Margarita –a few years I got into mild trouble with some ungarnished Bacardis.

I take out my  box of(now) 463 cocktail umbrellas just to marvel at them.

Their construction is identical to a full-sized parasol, which blows me away. I try to imagine the factory in China that produces them. I can’t imagine the machinery and workers required to turn out enough of these babies to hang over the rim of mai tais ’round the world. I especially can’t imagine my job description as Twister of minuscule elastic bands around cocktail parasols.

Talk about your cheery, frivolous object!  I do remember they were dead cheap — a buck fifty? — or I wouldn’t have bought them. I can’t remember where I bought them, but it was at a restaurant supply store in either Atlanta or Culver City. It was one  my life’s happiest impulse purchases, a box of tiny articulated paper brollies — they toil not, neither do they spin or even loll over a Singapore sling.

I decorated a batch of cupcakes with a few of them, and they were darn cute. I may have included them in some kind of springtime “tablescape.” I sent my sister-in-law Patty home with a few — she likes a Pina Colada. But mostly the box sits in the tall Shaker cabinet along with spices and cake decorating stuff, waiting for me to pull it out and coo over my baby brollies. So seize the day — if you see something so beguiling, cheap and cheerful walk it straight up to the cash register.

And if you want to talk among yourselves, pick a date, and show up on my doorstep burdened with rum, coconut milk, grenadine, limes and maraschino cherries I can break out my umbrellas and a pupu platter.



Filed under A Couple of Bucks, Drink, How Cool is That?, Paper

4 responses to “Cocktail Umbrellas: Carpe Diem

  1. Patty

    I’m still holding Lou to that Pina Colada when next we are visiting. As a person who prefers “foofoo” drinks, the little cocktail umbrellas are a must have, or else it just feels something is wrong with the drink. They make the drink happy!

  2. Kouign Aman

    Sitting in a bar on one of the Keys – south of Key Largo, and north of Key West – I was at first surprised to see that the cocktail umbrella in my drink was broken. Then I was amused as I remembered that I had ordered a “Hurricane Andrew”.
    They had cleverly blown the umbrella out, as many of us have done to the full scale version during a windy rain. I kept that thing for years, for the smiles it gave me.

  3. kim shook

    I am just twee enough to adore all things miniature. And I’ve found cocktail umbrellas fascinating for years. I love introducing little ones to unrolling the wound up ring at the bottom of the slats to reveal the tiny little Chinese characters. It used to be newsprint and I always wondered who read such small newpapers!

  4. Paul

    You should try them in a Tiki cocktail called the “Suffering Bastard”, one of the few (only?) with gin and bourbon. Use the umbrella to spear the cherry, orange and mint garnish (never skip the garnish).

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