Today’s old fart top travel story is about something that most adults have seen, millions have played with, and that are almost guaranteed to make you smile; the cocktail umbrella. Those whimsical bits of paper sunshine on a stick that we so often see protruding from delicious tropical drinks. They’re underrated, often abused, and almost always forgotten, yet we absolutely love them.
Tiny Multicolored Umbrellas Brighten Everything They Touch
The marvelous tiny multicolored umbrellas brighten everything they touch, including us. They’re now found around the world, and have become a global staple in the world of bartending. A cocktail umbrella or paper parasol is a small umbrella made from paper, paperboard, and a toothpick. They are frequently associated with tropical drinks and Tiki bars and used as a garnish decoration. They’re also used in desserts, other foods and beverages.
Cocktail umbrellas are fashioned from paper and are patterned with cardboard ribs. The ribs provide flexibility so the umbrella can be pulled shut much like an ordinary umbrella. A small plastic retaining ring is often used to secure it to the against the stem, usually a toothpick, and prevent it from folding up spontaneously.
No One’s Quite Sure Of Their Origin
Everyone loves them, but no one’s quite sure of their origin. According to Tiki drink historian Jeff Berry, the rainbow colored mini umbrellas made their North American debut in 1932, when they were first used by Hilton Waikiki bartender Harry Yee. But, even the biggest fans of these adorable accoutrements may not realize that they contain secret foreign secrets.
You see, there’s a sleeve of folded newspaper located under the collar or base of the cocktail umbrella that’s made out of recycled paper from either China, India, or Japan. As a result, they indicate their country of origin. To find it, simply pull off the top of the umbrella and unravel the small piece of paper at the very tip of the wooden stem. Most likely you’re going to come across an old piece of news from years ago, but it’s still great bar conversation.
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