The next time you find yourself in a cocktail bar, take a moment to investigate the miniature cocktail umbrella that comes with your favourite drink. We can assure you that it’s bound to astonish you. If you’re up for a little delight, this story is for you.

These little wonders have a history dating back to 1932 when they were first introduced by Hilton Waikiki bartender Harry Yee. But this is not really a history lesson. The gift is in the making.

These tiny parasols are crafted from simple materials: paper, paperboard, and a toothpick. But it’s that seemingly ordinary “paper” that holds a remarkable secret.

In today’s world, most cocktail umbrellas are mass-produced in Asian factories, and to keep production costs down, manufacturers often utilise repurposed materials. And there lies our little gift.

Many of these factories are located in countries like China, Japan, and the Indian subcontinent. Here’s where it gets truly fascinating: the workers in these factories often use local newspapers as the source material for crafting these umbrellas.

And what most people don’t know is that you actually still can read those papers. So, if you were to carefully peel away the glued paper from the base of one of these cocktail umbrellas, you might be in for a surprise.

Hidden beneath the surface, you could find yourself reading the words of an old newspaper, written in local languages from China, Japan, or closer to home, India.

It could be a snippet of a headline news story, a weather report, a missing person notice, or even a piece of sports news. Each cocktail umbrella carries with it a slice of bygone times and a unique story waiting to be discovered.

It is also a reminder that even the smallest and simplest things can hold hidden tales of the past, making your drink at that cocktail bar more than just a beverage – it’s a gateway to history. Try it next time.