The rum daiquiri is one of world’s great drinks, yet it’s often prepared so poorly that you’d never know it. Somehow, someone, somewhere got it into their heads that a daiquiri should be thrown into a blender with lots of sugar, and lots of fruit, and made into something closer to a slurpee than a cocktail. In reality, a properly made classic daiquiri is a beautifully elegant and delicious drink.
While we don’t know exactly where or how the classic daiquiri was invented – many countries and bars lay claim to its origin – the drink came somewhere out of the Caribbean where sugarcane, rum, and limes are plentiful. As with many great classic cocktails, the daiquiri is made with three simple ingredients: rum, lime, and sugar. This basic structure is nearly identical with other tropical rum classics like the Ti Punch, Caipirinha, and Mojito (which adds mint to the mix).
A great classic daiquiri is all about balancing lime, sugar, and strong rum. It’s extremely easy for one of these elements to overpower the daiquiri, so when making a daiquiri it is essential to be precise with your measurements and always use a jigger. It’s also extremely important to use fresh lime juice. Using bottled lime juice will turn your drink into something barely palatable. This difference is as significant as the one between a fast food hamburger and a burger at a steakhouse.
The Classic Daiquiri
1 1/2 oz Rum
3/4 oz simple syrup
3/4 oz fresh squeezed lime juice
Shake with ice and strain into a coupe glass. Garnish with a lime.
The best place to start with the classic daiquiri is with a white rum like Bacardi Supreme, Brugal Especial Extra Dry, Angostura Reserva, or Denizen Rum. Starting with a white rum shows off the dry quality of this cocktail and makes it a perfect aperitif cocktail that holds its own against other great aperitifs like the martini.
The daiquiri can also stand in as an ideal after dinner drink if you choose a more complex rum like Banks Five Island Rum or a darker rum like Appleton Estates – you get something that tastes completely different. Using darker sugars for your simple syrup like demerara also dramatically transforms the drink.
The daiquiri may have gotten a bad rap from its time spent as a blended slushy, but it is truly one of the world’s great cocktails, one that when prepared correctly will impress even the most picky of imbibers.
Photo by Jackson Stakeman