Cocktail Hour: The Daiquiri

DSC_0014I’m getting to the point where I refuse to order mixed drinks in bars that are more complicated than “rum and coke” or “vodka and soda” or “gin and tonic”.  Really.  I was at a hotel bar- notorious for their knowledge of certain drinks (like a Manhattan) because so many folks use them, and the bar was actually located in a high-end restaurant.  I asked for a “Manhattan, up, stirred”– and got one.  Except that “stirred” was just mixing the ingredients together, no ice, and paying $14 for the privilege.  I have discovered that I do not like Manhattans at room temperature.  Blech.

The daiquiri (along with the Pina Colada and the Margarita, and any sort of sour) is a drink that I completely avoid at most bars.  Generally, they’re made with bar mix: heavily laden with high fructose corn syrup and artificial flavors instead of sugar and the appropriate juice.  They taste sweet and sour because of the HFCS and citric acid, which isn’t what I’m going for, thank you.  Not only that, but daiquiris and margaritas are often frozen, which just makes for an alcoholic slushie.  It’s not really a cocktail.

So how did I get on a daiquiri kick?  As I was making Aviations and other drinks, Terry said, “You know, I don’t know that I’ve ever had a real daiquiri.”  I was sort of shocked, as he confessed that before he really got into beer, he’d order drinks like daiquiris or a gin and tonic.  Turns out, he’d never had one made without bar mix.  So, one night, I told Terry to pick up some rum on the way home from work, and since I had limes already, I could throw together a daiquiri.  I didn’t ask (he can chime in), but I don’t think he’d ever had one that wasn’t frozen, either.

This is the recipe I used, from Dale de Groff’s The Craft of the Cocktail:

1.5 oz light rum (I used Bacardi)

.5 oz lime juice

.75 oz simple syrup

Shake with ice, strain into a cocktail glass.  It’s super simple: three ingredients.

Oh, you need a recipe for simple syrup?

1 cup sugar

1 cup water

Bring to a boil, and stir until combined.  Let cool, then put in the refrigerator– it keeps for a couple of weeks.  You can obviously double, triple, or more for your needs.  It’s a great thing just to have in the refrigerator, especially if you like iced tea– since it’s a sugar solution, it mixes in with cold beverages better than plain sugar.  If you’re feeling fancy, you can infuse your simple syrup with herbs, but I think that’s another post.

So what was the reaction?

“Oh my god.  This is effing amazing.  This is what they taste like?  Wow!”

Considering by the time I got back from my  most recent trip (and the site of that horrendous Manhattan) there was only a half an ounce of rum left from the small bottle we bought for this experiment (as well as a big bottle of Bacardi to replace it), I’d say they were a success.  Now, that wasn’t all Terry–we drank a few ourselves the night we experimented, so don’t think he’s a lush.  I’m also angling to get him hooked on Hemingways (essentially a daiquri with some grapefruit juice and Maraschino).

Next week?  Homemade grenadine and the Jack Rose.  And no, it’s not named after the protagonists of Titanic.

16 thoughts on “Cocktail Hour: The Daiquiri”

  • You should hit the bar at The Rookwood in Mt Adam’s. They dont even have sour mix behind the bar and the bar manager Rom makes his own bitters and garnishes. Plus one of his specialties is The Aviation.

  • Yup, I really like Rom’s cocktails. In town, I generally go there or Tonic if I want cocktails I don’t have to make myself. I had my first Aviation there.

  • There’s nothing like a fresh daiquiri! My father-in-law used to have a 1950s-looking cocktail shaker and little metal stemmed cups. He would shake them by hand until the shaker was covered with frost! You didn’t realize how potent they were until you tried to walk! I have inherited the set, and your post made me smile and think of happy times. Cheers!

  • Julie I love you!!!!! The daiquiri was the cocktail of the evening last nite at Mayday! and everyone was so suprised when i told them this is a REAL daiquiri! and then i told them the story about them and how they were named after the town of Daiquiri. Hemingway always ordered s double so he wouldnt have have to wait too long for the next one! also i agree on drinking Manhattans warm YUCK!!!! there is nothing worse then getting a horrible Manhattan ! next time i see you ( which will be soon I hope) I will make you the best Manhattan EVAH!!!!!! take care lady ,and keep drinking responsively! -Molly

  • Actually, I AM a lush…but that’s another story for another time.

    I’m so happy to hear the story about Hemingway, Molly. Now THAT was a man’s man. I was afraid that by confessing to be a fan of the daiquiri, I would be forced to give up my Guy Card.


  • Julie,
    Thanks again for introducing another fine beverage to add to our cocktail parties.

    A question, about something that’s rarely mentioned – ice. Something of a pet peeve of mine ( of which my wife thinks I have too many) is the floaters you get in drinks. I’ve gotten to where I’ll specifically state that I want NO ice in my drink. Any chance that some of the establishments you mention use a bigger cube of ice so that none of the pieces will escape the strainer?

    Thanks again for such a cool blog.

    • Oh, yes. I think that’s less the size of the ice than the strainer. I’ve found places that use julep strainers are more effective at not getting the floaties in drinks. Tonic and Rookwood both do a good job with this– they’re careful. At home, I’ve gotten pretty good at keeping the floaties out too. I’d be afraid of asking for no ice– I don’t want a repeat of my Manhattan incident.

      So glad you like the blog! If you’re liking the cocktails, I think you’ll really like this coming friday’s recipe. It’s quickly become a favorite.

Leave a Reply