A cocktail umbrella is a small umbrella or parasol made from paper, paperboard, and a toothpick, used as a garnish or decoration in cocktails, desserts or other food and beverages. Contrary to popular belief, the shade provided by a cocktail umbrella is of secondary importance to its aesthetic qualities.
The umbrella is fashioned out of paper, which can be patterned, with cardboard ribs. The ribs are made from cardboard in order to provide flexibility and to hinge so the umbrella can be pulled shut much like an ordinary umbrella. A small plastic retaining ring is often fashioned against the stem, a toothpick, in order to prevent the umbrella from folding up spontaneously. Also note that there is a sleeve of folded newspaper under the collar to act as a spacer. This newspaper is usually Japanese, Chinese or Indian hinting at the umbrella's origin.
The cocktail umbrella is believed to have arrived on the bar scene as early as 1932 courtesy of Victor Bergeron of Trader Vic's in San Francisco although it is, by Vic's own admission, a presentation picked up from Don the Beachcomber (now closed). Upon introduction, umbrellas were considered very exotic as were most things from the Pacific Rim.
Famous quotes containing the word umbrella:
“There are certain thingsas, a spider, a ghost,
The income-tax, gout, an umbrella for three
That I hate, but the thing that I hate the most
Is a thing they call the Sea.”
—Lewis Carroll [Charles Lutwidge Dodgson] (18321898)