Before being the name of one of the world’s most famous drinks, Daiquiri was the name of a beach in the south of Cuba. Its neighbouring namesake village was the place where American Engineer Jennings Cox decided to mix rum with lime juice and sugar to make it more palatable back in 1896. Not only his inventive mix helped him make up for his lack of gin, people loved it. The recipe arrived from Cuba to the United States thanks to Admiral Lucius Johnson and soon became very popular, by the time prohibition send the cocktail scene underground, Americans had already developed a thirst for Daiquiri.
Today, 19th of July we celebrate Daiquiri Day and now that the drink is turning 120 years old, it might be a good time to strip it off the artificially flavoured hot pink mixers and high fructose corn syrup industrial sweeteners that have managed to stick to it as it became popular worldwide.
This Daiquiri Day let’s come full circle: we’ll take the best from its rich past and enhance it with trends that are shaping a tasty future, as we aim to create a timeless, balanced drink that does justice to Hemingway’s description of “the great ones” served by Constante at the Floridita, those “that had no taste of alcohol and felt, as you drank them, the way downhill glacier skiing feels running through powder snow.”
The classic Daiquiri is made by mixing 1.5 cl simple syrup, 2.5 cl fresh lime juice and 4.5 cl white rum, shaken with ice cubes and strained into a cocktail glass (no frozen slushy nonsense here). In the photo below you can see the original recipe, taken from Jennings Cox’s diary and courtesy of Bacardi, which is featured as the rum of choice by the cocktail’s inventor. As they explained to us, back in the day, Bacardi Superior Rum was 44.5% ABV, slightly stronger than nowadays (there is an special Bacardi Heritage Blend available for those who want their cocktails historically accurate!).
Now, let’s make the ultimate Bacardi Daiquiri…
Instead of buying simple syrup or preparing your own by boiling sugar and water, use the “cold-method” to make simple syrup. This process will prevent sucrose in sugar from separating into glucose and fructose, resulting in finer crystals and more integrated flavours in the cocktail. For this, pour one part of superfine sugar into a quart bottle and slowly add one part of water, capping and shaking between additions get rid of trapped air.
The lime juice
Forget about rushing to get freshly squeezed limes as limonin, a chemical compound that adds a bitter bite to this fruit, develops after the juice is exposed to air. You don’t want to get too much of it, but “ageing” lime juice for 4 or 6 hours in a mason jar will add complexity and help you make a better rounded drink (it’s the same principle that makes a wine balanced when alcohol, acidity and tannins appear without overwhelming the others). Another thing, don’t over squeeze the limes as you will extract more flavours than the ones you want, instead, be firm but gentle and settle with what the halved fruit is naturally willing to give (don’t use a machine for this either, your hand’s the perfect tool!).
After all that love and effort to get the perfect syrup and the best lime juice you wouldn’t just pour any crystalline booze on it, we hope.
The classic calls for white rum but not all white rums are the same. Instead of going for an ultra-filtered white rum void of its sugarcaney flavours and aromas, go for one that doesn’t disappear when mixed in cocktails.
Bacardi Carta Blanca works wonderfully well: it’s filtered through charcoal twice, but between each filtering, it spends spends one year ageing white oak barrels.
This process helps it retain richness and pleasant flavours of vanilla and toasted almonds that complement the citrusness of the fruit. Basically, it is a white rum for those who actually want to enjoy rum.
The instructions are the same: simply shake all the ingredients with ice in and strain over a cocktail glass. It might look just like any other Daiquiri, but everything you’ve put into it has been treated with that extra bit of love that distinguishes the special from the average.
Now enjoy a real Daiquiri, and once you master the classic, feel free to experiment and make it yours! If you rather sip one made by experts, here’s a list of places that make an authentic Daiquiri in Dublin (and they will use Bacardi Heritage Blend for extra authenticity!):
Gabriela’s passion for writing is only matched by her love for food and wine. Journalist, confectioner and sommelier, she fell in love with Ireland years ago and moved from Venezuela to Dublin in 2014.
Since then, she has written about and worked in the local food scene, and she’s determined to discover and share the different traditions, flavours and places that have led Irish food and drink to fascinate her.