Cocktail Time

Caribbean Origins

Today we’re talking about rum. Everyone loves rum, and the most classic drink utilising it is undoubtedly the Daiquiri. In mixology lore, the drink you’ll be asked when trialling for a swanky cocktail bar will always be the Daiquiri. Whether this is true or not, I have no idea. It’s an incredibly simple drink, containing rum, lime and sugar. They even have competitions to this day about who can make the best classic Daiquiri; I imagine there’s little variation there.

Many of you may be familiar with the Daiquiri’s bastardised cousins, the strawberry and the banana or whatever. These are made in lacklustre fashion, often just rum added to a slushee mix. They may be quite tasty, but I consider myself above that rubbish. Here we are talking about the classic origin that inspired such beach bar staples.

The Daiquiri is likely named after an iron mine of the same name in south-eastern Cuba, where it was served to American mining engineers and military personnel who later took it to the US. Both Ernest Hemingway and JFK were well known to love the Daiquiri, although I wouldn’t draw any conclusion from that… Somewhat ironically, Daiquiri is also a stone’s throw from Guantanamo Bay. Is it all adding up? Probably not.

The Dak (as known amongst aficionados) is a crisp, refreshing and punchy drink perfect as a sundowner after a long day at the beach, or a protracted interrogation of an innocent Iraqi. Anyway, CIA war crimes behind us, let’s get into the recipe.

Whack into a shaker 2oz (60ml) white rum, 1oz (30ml) freshly squeezed lime juice and 0.5oz (15ml) simple syrup (1:1 mix sugar and water). Chuck plenty of ice in and give it a solid shake for around 10-15 seconds. Strain into a nice cocktail glass and enjoy. Here’s one I made earlier:

Because the recipe for the Daiquiri is so simple, it’s a very difficult drink to balance. So let’s talk about limes. Limes, if you didn’t know, are smaller, cuter, greener lemons. In the UK, you might get Key limes from Mexico and the Caribbean, Persian limes and Kaffir limes from the Indian subcontinent. Key limes are the ones you want, they’re not too sour and have a strong juice yield. You can sort of tell the difference between your limes by the nobbliness of the skin. Smoother is better. Always feel your limes before you buy.

If you’re looking for literary inspiration, try Hemingway’s own preferred version. Same method and amount of rum, but with 1oz (30ml) grapefruit juice, only 0.5oz (15ml) lime juice and the same amount of Maraschino (an Italian cherry flavoured liqueur). It’s a bit more tart and definitely more complex on the palate, but just as enjoyable.

So, there you have it, the Daiquiri. Happy drinking.



Image credits: Pixabay on, Miguel Padrinan on, Jan Laugesen on

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