The Classic Daiquiri - A History and Guide
Spare me the lecture - Jump to the recipe Nothing "fun" like a Daquiri. It's a Classic Cocktail that screams enjoyment, relaxation and taking in the finer things in life. Put simply, it's fun. So fun, in fact, that Everyone from famous authors to American Presidents has sipped and thrown back Daiquiris like one throws their inhibitions to the wind. Its variations are many and, it's the de facto favorite for swim-up pool bar aficionados. Unless you're allergic, there's virtually nothing to dislike about this drink. Sure, the Martini may have class, a Gin, and Tonic's got medicinal benefits (not really), but with the Daquiri rum, citrus, and sugar come together in a deadly combination that will have you craving good times in the Atlantic ocean. So grab your short-sleeve button-down and swap your dress shoes for sandals cause we're heading to Havana to get the 4-1-1 on this iconic cocktail.
The History of the Classic Daiquiri
The history of most cocktails is blurry at best, and some have a good story. The daiquiri, on the other hand, not only has a definitive beginning but a rich cultural tapestry filled with politics, intrigue, and of course, a lot of consumption. Named after its Homestake, the Daiquiri was officially carded and labeled in the year 1896 by Jenning Cox. Cox himself had quite an interesting life as he was an engineer living in Cuba post the Spanish-American war. Like other great cocktails that came into being, the inspiration for the Daiquiri was believed to have arisen as a result of running out of other liquor, namely Gin. Now, if there's one thing Cuba had an abundance of, it's spiced rum, sugar, and limes. So much so that it's highly probable that Cox was scarcely the first man to mix the three together. Nevertheless, given the right balance of ingredients, the drink was a colossal success, and Jennings opted to name the drink after the nearby port city, which incidentally was the launching pad for the U.S invasion into Cuba during the war. And voila, the Daquiri was born! That said, our journey scarcely ends there. You see, about 13 years later, Cox was visited by US Navy Admiral, who, as it turns out, flipped his lid for the stuff. So Lucius, naturally, takes it back to his homies in America, where it began to spread like wildfire. Approximately four years after that, and now the Daiquiri is showing up all over the map, including in notable bartending journals and books. Around this time, one of the bartenders of the Hotel Plaza in Havana started serving up his own variations of the Daiquiri. By swapping the white sugar for brown, this version is built on the original like any good sequel does, by changing things up a little but keeping the heart and soul intact, and ultimately upped the game. In addition to switching sweeteners, Emilio (the bartender) opted to shake and strain into a coupe glass rather than the formerly used flute. Believe it or not, the Daiquiri hasn't even reached its final form yet. It was in the 1920-30s (history's a little fuzzy on the exact date) in a Havana bar known as the Floridita that owner/bartender Constantino "Constante" Ribalaigua Vert decided he was going create an entire generation of functioning alcoholics by throwing ice and a Daiquiri in a blender. Boom, frozen Daiquiris everywhere. Strap in cause here's where it gets really interesting. I shit you not, in this time frame, Hemingway decides to show up and takes such a liking that he starts putting 'em back like an absolute madman. Yeah, Ernest Hemmingway, like "Old Man and The Sea" Hemmingway, is just getting absolutely tanked on Daiquiris to the point where it's reported the guy went through 15 of them in a single sitting. The stories go on but to cut it short, by the '60s, every resort, pool bar, and vacation destination were serving up Daiquiri variations, each more "tropical and exotic" than the last, taking advantage of modern slushie machines and apparently people lower appetites for quality beverages. Now the original Daiquiri lives a shadow of its former self while cheap kits line the halls of liquor stores. Fortunately, in recent modern times, Bartenders are answering the call, and now the original recipe has entered a resurgence, and that classic recipe, my friends, is exactly what you'll be mixing today.
Classic Daiquiri Recipe
And now my friends - we mix! For best results, please be sure to check out the tips below.
Jigger or Shot Glass
2 Teaspoons of Brown (or Cane) Sugar
3/4 an ounce lime Juice (fresh)
2 ounces of Rum (white or Cuban)
Pour sugar and lime juice in a shaker, and stir until dissolved
Add ice and rum
Shake it like you're in Cuba, Baby!
Strain into Coup glass
Martini Mixing Tips, Tricks, and Techniques
On The Subject of Rum - This is already true for 99% of drinks, but the quality of liquor makes a huge difference when it comes to cocktails. This fact is especially true when you're mixing a Daquiri. Do not, I repeat, DO NOT mix your drink with Dark Rum. Gold Rum is just as bad. Just don't, okay? I don't need that kind of negativity in my life. Trust me on this one. Call it "Grogg" for all I care, but if you mix it with dark or golden rum, it's not a Daquiri. Even mixing it with Jamaican Rum technically classifies it as a different drink altogether. So what is the best rum for a Daquiri, then? Easy - white rum. "Cuban" white rum, to be precise, and it's guaranteed to make it taste as good as you'll look mixing it.
Sweet Dude! - This classic recipe calls for raw sugar, but this hasn't stopped bartenders the world over from mixing it up with a whole slew of different syrups. This is where you can have a lot of fun and start laying down some foundations with experimenting and mixology. Some people will scream that cane sugar is best, but at this point, we're getting into personal preference territory. I will advise, though, that if you are using raw sugar, take the time to mix the lime juice with the sugar before adding the rum. this simple step goes a long way in balancing the flavor profile.