I’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.