The daiquiri is probably my favorite drink. In the summer, it’s nice and cooling. In the winter, it makes me think of summer. You can switch rums, and you have an entirely different drink, it’s amazing. And I have all kinds of thoughts and opinions on it that I would like to share.
I think that any claim that the Daiquiri was “invented” anywhere is suspect. The name apparently comes from a place in Cuba, and the story goes that an American mining engineer ran out of gin while entertaining and used the next clear alcohol at hand, and local sugar and limes, and behold the daiquiri!
Which is a cool story bro, but it’s not like combining cane spirits, lime and sugar was new and radical and innovative. You’ve got grog, Ti’Punch, Planters’ Punch, caipirinha, and, well, punch itself, the granddaddy of all mixed drinks.
Also, there’s this whole family of drinks that’s based on spirits, citrus, and sugar. It’s called a sour. It’s among my favorite things to drink.
So, while I’m glad that we have something to call my favorite drink other than a rum sour, I’m sure people were drinking it or something like it long before the current recipe became more or less set.
I say more or less because while it’s always rum, lime, sugar, that’s as far as agreement goes. The Savoy Cocktail Book calls for half a lime, 2 oz of rum, and a teaspoon of sugar. Dave Wondrich suggests 1/2 teaspoon in his Esquire recipe. Both specify powdered or superfine sugar, rather than simple syrup. On the richer end of the spectrum, 10 Cane’s flash-infested corporate website suggests a 2:1:1 ratio of rum:lime:syrup – and 10 Cane is not a particularly dry rum at all. Somewhere in the middle are this second Esquire recipe and the Alton Brown (is there nothing that man can’t do?) one, which call for 0.75 oz and 0.5 oz, respectively.
So, what ratio do I use? It depends on the rum. Sweeter rums, or rums with lots of interesting stuff doing on, get a teaspoon or a quarter ounce. Less interesting rums get a half ounce. You should mess around until you find a ratio you like.
Also, I realize that powdered sugar is traditional, but I prefer to use simple syrup. Sugar – even powdered or superfine – doesn’t dissolve well in ice. Simple syrup is pre-dissolved, and you can measure it in the same jigger as your rum. Which isn’t a huge benefit, but I’ve never had a complaint about it.
2 oz rum
Half a lime (Call it about an ounce of juice. Use a whole lime if yours are small or dry, or a quarter if you have freaky giant limes)
1 tsp – 0.5 oz simple syrup (see above)
Fill a cocktail shaker with ice, add the rum, lime juice, and sugar. Shake until frost forms. Strain into a cocktail glass. Enjoy. Make another one with a slightly different recipe. Weigh their pluses and minuses, and try two entirely different recipes the next night.
1 cup sugar
1 cup water
Combine in a sauce pan, bring to a boil, stirring, lower heat and simmer 5 minutes or until clear. Let cool to room temperature, decant into a clean bottle, and store in the fridge for up to several weeks.