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Flirting with Flamingos

Updated: Apr 4, 2021

The Flamingo is synonymous with Florida yet not the State bird (that would be the mockingbird). You will find the flamingo topping swizzle sticks from Miami to Vegas. Some delicate and beautiful, and one outlier that may even tempt one to steal a car and take a wild drive through the dangerous streets of Vice City.

Ranging from Miami Spice to Miami Vice, flamingo swizzles were issued for Chambord, and for Captain Morgan's Rum. In other words, the odd looking bird is one popular choice to sit atop a swizzle.

How many flamingo swizzles do you have in your collection? 90% of these hail from the Las Vegas Flamingo Hotel. Most are, of course, pink, but they were also released in a rainbow of colors, ranging from turquoise to black (just a few of the colors featured in photo to right).

But the one we are obsessed with (one of the other 10%) are not the one of Vegas fame, but from the Flamingo Hotel and Club in Miami.

The Flamingo Hotel and Club was considered Miami's first Grand Hotel.

The Flamingo Hotel was opened on December 31, 1920. Developed by Carl Fisher (his second Miami Beach Hotel), the hotel was located on Biscayne Bay. The bright pink Flamingo Hotel was known for its glass dome, lit at night in changing colors, which could be seen for miles around. Fisher pulled many publicity stunts that Fisher pulled to gain the hotel the attention of the international press. Stunts included many appearances of Rosie the Elephant.

Grand Theft Auto Vice City Stories

Miami is symbolized by the Flamingo, but Miami is also known by its dark underbellied alias: “Vice City”; and, I suppose, by association, the blockbuster video game "Grand Theft Auto". That brings us to the promotional swizzle that make the hearts of younger collectors flutter.

The games in the Grand Theft Auto series are set in fictional locales modeled after real-life cities, at various points in time from the early 1960s to the 2010s. The original game's map encompassed three cities—Liberty City (based on New York City), San Andreas (based on San Francisco), and Vice City (based on Miami)

Since the game was created by DMA Design in 1997, the series has been critically acclaimed and commercially successful, having shipped more than 280 million units with an estimated gross revenue of over $9 billion, making it one of the highest selling video game franchises of all time (behind Nintendo's Mario Brothers, Pokemon and Tetris.

In 2006, Grand Theft Auto was featured in a list of British design icons in the "Great British Design Quest" organized by the BBC and the Design Museum.

Miami Spice

Another Miami-themed Flamingo swizzle was issued by Captain Morgan’s Rum drink “Miami Spice”. These beauties were given out in packages of four with a beautiful cardboard background card (photo below). The pictured cocktail and Flamingo are marred by Captain Morgan himself. The Cap'n is photo bombing the serene scene; can you find him?

Mass produced flamingos and probably the most prevalent of the non-promotional swizzles (found at the Party Store and on Amazon). These are not among a die-hard swizzle stick collector's collection; but they can be very pretty:

Subscribe today to read other Flamingo themed posts as they are published. Coming soon: Six-Feet Flamingo Swizzle's; find fun facts including discovering which City has named the Flamingo its official bird?


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