Much like the Old Fashioned and the Martini, this drink can be a great vehicle to showcase a light, or golden rum that you want to introduce someone to. You can go further and use it to showcase the difference between the heavier, fruitier pot stilled rums of Jamaica/Guyana against the lighter (in taste) style of the more refined Cuban style. If your intention is to be authentic though, it must be Cuban.
Almost every Daiquiri I have ever made has been for someone else so I have had to come to a point where I have a recipe that is suitable for the vast majority of people, most of the time. That recipe is as follows.
Havana Club 3yr rum – 50ml
Squeezed lime – 20ml
Sugar Syrup (1:1) – 20ml
Shake and serve straight up in a cocktail glass. You might also consider fine straining this drink as Constante Ribalague, the Catalan bartender that presided over El Floridita (and who reportedly juiced 80 million limes) would have done.
Always keep in mind with this drink that there is nowhere to hide. You only have three ingredients and as David Embury tells us in The Fine Art of Mixing Drinks “a cocktail is only as good as it’s weakest ingredient”. That means use the best rum you afford to be mixing and juice the lime fresh. Investing in a Mexican elbow won’t be the worst thing you ever do.
If you’re using simple syrup as I suggest you do, make sure that you make it the same every time. Stupid thing to say you might think, but you’d be surprised. This is most important to remember, and most relevant in cocktail bars where you might have a different person making the simple syrup and multiple batches of syrup in rotation at any one time.
One of the great things I learned in training sessions with Dale De Groff is to go back and check on people drinking a Daiquiri you have prepared for them. Make sure it is balanced perfectly for them – not for you – and that they are enjoying their drink.
Having fresh lime juice and sugar syrup available to you means that you can offer a little more of whatever might be needed, even after the drink has been made. It’s a solid tip to go one step further looking after your guests.
The original Daiquiri was created in the late 1800’s and was named after a village near Santiago in Cuba. Bacardi had a distillery there so I can’t imagine anything other than Bacardi first being used.
The original recipe called for 1 tea spoon of sugar, juice of ½ lime and 1 jigger of white rum.
One thing that isn’t talked about as often as you’d think, is the structure and mouth-feel that lime juice used in conjunction with sugar syrup brings to a drink. You will really notice this when you make two drinks side by side, one made with caster or granulated sugar and lime juice versus one made with simple syrup and lime juice. I find the one with syrup the more balanced, structured and pleasing to drink but you should make your mind up by making different versions side by side and blind tasting them. That’s the only way you can hear your true voice – not mine, not David Embury’s and not Dale de Groff’s.
Taken from David Embury’s book, here are some of the other Daiquris listed at various times at El Floridita, Havana:
Daiquiri No.2: Same as the classic with the addition of 1 teaspoon of orange juice and a few dashes of curacao.
Daiquiri No.3: Same as the classic with the addition of 1 teaspoon each of grapefruit juice and maraschino. Also known as the Hemingway Daiquiri
Daiquiri No.4: Same as the classic except that gold label rum is used with 1 teaspoon of maraschino.
Daiquiri No.5: The same as the classic, with the addition of 1 teaspoon each of maraschino and grenadine.
Incidentally, a Daiquiri No.5 made with pineapple juice and you have the well-known Mary Pickford cocktail.
And just lastly, a Daiquiri sweetened with grenadine instead of sugar constitutes a Bacardi cocktail and Bacardi insist, with the full-force of the law that it is their rum only that is to be used in this drink.
Here are some other drinks and Daiquiris of the same ilk:
A gorgeous, late-night, after-dinner version of our beloved classic with a hint of chocolate.
Golden rum – 50ml
Lime juice – 20ml
Briotett Dark Cacao – 10ml
Sugar syrup – 12.5ml
The best modern Daiquiri I can think of by the brilliant Kevin Armstrong.
Havana Club 3yr – 40ml
Campari – 10ml
Lime juice – 15ml
Simple syrup – 15ml
Passion Fruit Syrup – Dash
Shake and strain into chilled cocktail glass, garnish with flamed orange peel