Let’s break down a classic libation. You want to be able to con dently make these drinks in your own kitchen so you can wow your friends, impress the ladies and do irreparable harm to your liver. For this issue and the start of our journey, let’s take a look at one of the most beautifully simple, delicious and refreshing of them all.... The Daiquiri.
I know when many of you hear that name you immediately conjure up images of a fluorescent colored slushy in a fishbowl sized glass, surrounded by 4 coeds sucking on straws with whipped cream all over their lips... Okay, that’s not a bad visual. But the reality is this is one of the most elegant and romanticized cocktails in history. Created at the end of the 1800’s, this classic was born in the tropics that inspired it by an American residing in Cuba named Jennings Cox. Thankfully he named his creation after the sleepy little fishing village he lived in, Daiquiri, and not after himself (how awkward would it be to answer the bartender’s query “what would you like?” with “Cox”?). Rum was as plentiful then as it is now in Cuba and through experimentation this visionary saw that the addition of lime and sugar made it good.
The classic recipe is nothing more than:
- 2 ounces quality white rum
- 1 ounce fresh squeezed lime juice
- 1⁄2 oz. Simple Syrup
(To make simple Syrup... combine 50% water and 50% sugar in a saucepan and heating until sugar dissolves. Make in whatever quantity you’d like and store in your fridge)
Shake all ingredients over ice until the shaker tin is really cold and strain into a chilled cocktail glass (preferably a sugar-rimmed coupe or martini glass). Garnish it with a lime wheel. That’s it. You can adjust the sweetness and/or tartness by playing with the sugar and/or lime juice amounts but basically you are ready to sip your way to a remote beach in a tropical paradise.
The Hemmingway Daiquiri
Now, if you’re man enough, you can zest it up a bit and make yourself a Hemmingway Daiquiri. Yes, when he wasn’t wrestling bears or giant sh, the legend himself passed many a sun drenched afternoon sitting in the open air bar of the Floridita Hotel in Cuba enjoying his favorite libation created and named for him known then as a “Papa Doble.” He once perfectly quipped “I drink to make other people more interesting.” One can only wonder how many of his immortal tales he penned under the glow of this beverage:
- 2 oz. quality white rum
- 3⁄4 oz. fresh squeezed lime juice
- .5 oz. grapefruit juice
(fresh squeezed if you can, if not use a good one... not those little cans)
- .5 oz. Luxardo Maraschino Liqueur
(available at your ner liquor stores)
- Prepare just as the original but garnish with a 1⁄4 slice of grapefruit
The addition of the maraschino liqueur and the grapefruit juice give this classic a blended fruit burst and mouth feel that will have your guests wondering why they have never had a daiquiri so amazing and begging you for the secret. Whether or not you share the recipe and its origin is obviously your decision. But you can rest assured that you have started to build a cocktail arsenal that will impress even your most discerning audience.