straw that stirs the drink

straw that stirs the drink

The most valuable or important person or thing in a system. The phrase is usually attributed to baseball player Reggie Jackson. In this law firm, Ed may think that he's the straw that stirs the drink, but there are plenty of other lawyers that we could replace him with. Ever since Jeannie found out she got the lead in the play, she's been acting like the straw that stirs the drink.
See also: drink, stir, straw