The famous Cocktail umbrella is used as a garnish to decorate cocktails, desserts or other food and beverages all over the world.

First introduced in 1932 it was considered extremely exotic. Nowadays the cocktail umbrella is usually made from recycled newspapers from China, a toothpick, and cardboard ribs with a plastic retaining ring on the top of the stem.

And if you look closely, you will see that there is a paper scroll in each cocktail umbrella. It’s hidden right under the base of the umbrella and if you carefully unravel it you’ll be able to read the scroll (if you can read Chinese that is). The text may contain letters, numbers, newspaper headlines or even parts of images.

This is all fascinating stuff, but why top the drinks with an umbrella?

Some say that the cocktail umbrella was a marketing ploy to lure women to the bars.

Some will argue that they are just for decoration, others will tell you they shield the ice cubes from the bright shining sun so they don’t melt so quickly, or more importantly do they prevent the alcohol evaporating out of your drink whilst you are socialising outdoors on a hot summers day?

Who really knows? But it is safe to say that the alcoholic content of your drink is not in danger regardless of umbrella-ness.


This image, which was originally posted to, was uploaded to Commons using Flickr upload bot on 12:14, 18 June 2010 (UTC) by Catfisheye (talk). On that date it was licensed under the license Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license.

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