Rum, Citrus, Sugar.
Three ingredients (although you’ve got to include the water that comes from dilution when you shake this baby up), yet when they are combined they create one of the tastiest drinks you’ll ever sip from a beach chair in the summer sunshine. Let’s take a look… shall we?
The story of the Daiquiri can be traced all the way back to the ‘Grog’ that was consumed by the British Royal Navy (water, rum and limes), but I think we all know what they were drinking was a far cry from what we would consider a proper Daiquiri… right? The proper drink was born from the hand of Jennings Cox, an iron miner in Cuba.
The story proceeds with Cox entertaining some guests at his home in Cuba, and running out of the popular spirit that night – Gin. Forced to crack into the most popular and prevalent spirit, Rum, he was forced to get creative. Cox added lemons, sugar, mineral water and ice to the rum and turned it into a rum sour of sorts. However… he didn’t feel that this name was proper for a drink this delicious and named it instead after the nearby Daiquiri beach.
From this original recipe we head to a man named Admiral Johnson a US naval officer who picked up the drink and brought it home to be introduced at the Army and Navy club in Washington DC. The drink began to spread and ‘evolve’, if you will (while the same was occurring in Cuba too)
During the 1930’s the Daiquiri really started to grow up, though. Hemingway and F. Scott Fitzgerald both wrote about the cocktail, bringing it a wealth of fame, and even spawning a famous variation based off of how Hemingway liked to drink his (see below). It was about this time that the blender started to make itself known, and the Waring blender turned the drink into something else entirely. Other flavors started dropping into the party, and the drink began to get bigger and bigger with the slurry that we’ve all seen becoming synonymous with the cocktail.
After WW1 the cocktail got another boost in popularity as whiskey became short supplied, and rum and vodka became more popular. The Daiquiri rode the wave, though it did so with the fruity and overly sweet versions of itself maintaining dominance.
It wouldn’t be until the 1990’s when we would start to see the return to hand crafted cocktails. Fresh fruit became popular again, and the Daiquiri started to return to its original glory.
Jennings Cox’s Original Recipe (from Bacardi)
- 6 Lemons
- 6 tsp Sugar
- 6 cups of Bacardi Rum
- 2 cups of Mineral Water
- Crushed Ice
Mix well in a bowl, add ice and serve with a ladle.
The Hemingway Daiquiri
- 3 oz of White rum
- 1 oz of Lime juice
- 1/2 oz of Grapefruit juice
- 1/4 oz of Maraschino liqueur
Shake, serve up in a cocktail glass.
- 1.5 oz White Rum
- 1 oz Simple Syrup
- 3/4 oz Lime Juice
- 1 1/2 oz White Rum
- 1 oz Simple syrup
- 3/4 oz Lime juice
Shake and serve up in a cocktail glass with a lime garnish.
There is an argument that if you want to get classic, you should make your drink with lemon juice instead of the lime that is featured on the “traditional” version. It was, after all, lemons that went into the original cocktail at the hands of Jennings Cox. I would argue, though, that you should make the drink however you darn well please, and I think limes are pretty tasty.
The Breakdown – Finding Daiquiri Perfection
Do you want to know how I make my Daiquiris? I take a little piece here, a little piece there… squish them together and boom. Daiquiri perfection. Let’s break it down, just in case you don’t trust me, yet.
Rum – 1 1/2 Ounces
Let’s start with the booze – which is the base for the perfect Daiquiri. There are a few things to look for:
- Higher proof.
- Yes, you can make a great Daiquiri with 80 proof rum, but trust me that if you can find some a little higher 86-100 it will improve the drink.
- White rum is crucial.
- I know, I know, you can’t find Cuban rum. That’s ok, but look for something that is Cuban style. Light… Puerto Rico might be the closest that you’ll find.
Sugar – 3 Sugar Cubes
The important thing to note with your sugar, is not to use simple syrup, despite how it might make things easier. It throws consistency off. Please, resist the urge also to use any kind of brown sugar or any of those fancy ones you might find… they’re too thick and molasses-like. Go with pure granulated white sugar, dissolved in your lime juice before you shake up your drink, you’ll thank me later.
Lime – 3/4 oz
Go with whatever is fresh – just get it that way – Fresh. The juice doesn’t last forever either… so don’t do this days before your party, just squeeze, and add to the drink.
Crush your ice up, and use a ton of it. Fill the shaker up to the top. Remember, that dilution is important, don’t fear it.
Making The Drink
Add your sugar and lime first, giving them a little minute to dissolve, add the rest of the ingredients and shake the crap out of it. Double strain into a chilled cocktail coupe and garnish it with a little lime twist.