Cocktails of the Week
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Cocktail of the week no. 17: the Daiquiri

Yesterday, August 16, was National (or International, I’m not quite sure) Rum Day! Thank goodness for my Instagram feed and the many many cocktail enthusiasts I follow for alerting me to this important fact. And what better way to celebrate than with arguably the definitive rum cocktail, the daiquiri.

Invented (or at least first recorded) by an American engineer living in Cuba at the turn of the 20th century, the daiquiri seems like one of those cocktails that should always have existed. It’s just rum, lime, and sugar, gloriously simple. There are other notable classic cocktails which stick to the same basic formula – the French Caribbean Ti’ Punch with rhum agricole and cane syrup, the Brazilian Caipirinha with cachaça.

Fittingly for a drink invented by an American in Cuba, its most famous association is with Ernest Hemingway, who lived in Havana for nearly twenty years. A prodigious drinker with ecumenical tastes, his capacity for downing daiquiris, double daiquiris, and Hemingway daiquiris, became notorious at his favourite bar, El Floridita. That last personalised version of the drink, made with the addition of grapefruit juice and maraschino liqueur, still bears his name today.

There are plenty of variations on the daiquiri out there; in particular the frozen daiquiri, made by blending the ingredients with crushed ice, seems to have become more popular and well-known than the original. A fresh strawberry daiquiri in the summer is indeed a thing of beauty, but probably best to steer clear of anything violently coloured or with the word ‘tropical’ in the title.

Ratios, as ever, vary, and as ever I am sticking to what Serious Eats tells me. It’s quite common to make this with simple syrup, but dissolving sugar in the lime juice as you shake seems to eliminate the viscosity that syrup can bring.

Ingredients and Method:

2 oz white rum (I used Havana Club)
3/4 oz fresh lime juice
1 teaspoon sugar

Add the lime juice and the sugar to a shaker and fill with ice. Shake to dissolve the sugar. Add the rum and shake again. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish (optionally) with a lime wheel.

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