Today, in the midst of a global cocktail renaissance, the less we speak about the bastardization of the Daiquiri into the pink monstrosity served up at chain restaurants or beach bars, the better! This Daiquiri that consists of artificial strawberry-flavored coloring, poured over crushed ice with a dash of bad rum has taken over countless bad bars. I ask you to trust me: if your drink looks like it belongs on a table in the Barbie Dream House … it’s not the real thing.
Nowadays, the Daiquiri has gotten a bad rap. Over a hundred years old, the rum drink – the real Daiquiri – is a delicious cocktail perfect for summer.
The Rum Daiquiri is a nearly perfect cocktail. It is simple, elegant, and as refreshing a summer drink as one could ask for. It resides – along with the Martini, the Manhattan, and a select handful of others, in the pantheon of drinks that perfectly reflect the spirit and character of their base liquors without introducing needless complexity or requiring excessive preparation. You can make a Daiquiri in mere minutes, with the most basic of bar ingredients, and with the first sip be transported to the warm, white-sand beaches of the Caribbean, most particularly those of Cuba, its birthplace.
A real Daiquiri consists of white rum, lime juice, and simple syrup, shaken and strained into a chilled cocktail glass and garnished with a lime wedge. The resulting fizzy, foamy, off-white concoction is named for the town in which it was invented, and that invention happened by happy accident in 1896. The drink was created by Jennings Cox, an American engineer who managed the Cuban properties for two American companies. With important guests on the way, and finding himself without a source of gin – the genteel spirit at the time – Cox worried that they would not find the local tipple palatable if served neat. He added lime juice and sugar to the island’s pure cane rum, and a classic was born.
Ernest Hemingway, who spent a good deal of his time in Cuba, helped make the drink quite famous. The Hemingway Daiquiri is one of the rare cases where a bartender decided to add a bunch of stuff to an existing drink … and it worked. Marvelously. It brings grapefruit juice, Maraschino liqueur and shaved ice to the party, and there are two variations of the recipe, one which omits the simple syrup (Hemingway was a fan of drier drinks, in no small part due to diabetes-related sugar issues), and one which keeps it.
2 parts light rum
1 part fresh lime juice
½ part simple syrup
If your glass is not chilled, do so by placing some crushed ice in it and set it aside while you prepare the cocktail
Place 2 cups of crushed ice into a cocktail shaker
Pour the rum, lime juice, and simple syrup over the ice, cover, and shake well
Remove the ice from your serving glass and strain the drink into it
2 cups sugar / 1 cup water
Place the sugar and water into a small saucepan over high heat. Bring to a boil. Decrease the heat to medium and cook, stirring occasionally, until the suger is completely dissolved (3 to 5 min). Remove from the saucepan and allow to cool completely. Syrup can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a month.