I’ve been fascinated for a while with the concept of the four bedrock drinks of cocktailia. Each is based on one of the four foundation spirits upon which classic drinking lore is laid: Gin, Bourbon, Rum, and Brandy. I refer to these cocktails as The Four Gospels. I’m not sure if I made this up, or if I read it elsewhere. I suspect I read it elsewhere, as I ain’t that clever usually.
This post is about the Gospel of Rum, the mighty Daiquiri.
Allegedly invented at the beginning of the Twentieth Century in Cuba, by an American mining engineer (I always say
allegedly with cocktail lore… unless the story is just too good), the Daiquiri is at its core light rum, lime, and sugar. David Embury points out that it is a, nay, the rum sour.
When you want to play with Daiquiris, here’s the starting point:
- 3 oz. light or gold rum
- 1 oz. fresh lime juice
- 0.5 oz. simple sugar
Serve in a tumbler over ice cubes.
Dead easy, and delicious. But among the four Gospels, the Daiquiri lends itself to the most variation while still being considered a Daiquiri.
First, feel free to play with the proportions. The ratio I show here is 6-2-1. Depending on your tastes, and the quality of rum available, you may choose to up the rum amount to taste. You could lower it too, of course, or play otherwise with the proportions. Whatever ratio you find you like the best, settle it in stone in your heart and insist at every opportunity that it is the only proper ratio, while generously allowing that others may experiment for themselves.
Secondly, there are the preparation and serving directions to be played with. The Daiquiri is equally happy should you shake it and serve it in a cocktail glass. You can even flash blend it with ice and serve in a goblet, and it is still a proud, classic Gospel. Choose whatever method suits your mood, your demesne, or the weather.
Third, you may fiddle a bit with some additives. For whatever reasons, mostly historical, it is more classically accepted to go beyond the original ingredient list with Daiquiris than with the other three Gospels. I suspect that this is because unless you have better light rum than that readily available (at least in Ohio), the basic Daiquiri, while still delicious, lacks depth. At any rate, should your alterations be small, and don’t change the basic flavor of the drink, it’s still pretty much a Daiquiri.
A notable exception to this rule is that Cocktail We Cannot Name, if we don’t want to use Bacardi that is. By my working definition, it’s still pretty much a Daiquiri. But due to the color change, and its rich, colorful history, we usually call it by its own name.
My favorite chord change, after some experimentation, is called by various names. The most commonly used refers to one of drinking’s most famous practitioners, Ernest Hemingway, a man who is otherwise most famous for looking uncannily like my father.
- 2 oz. 10 Cane, or other light but aged rum
- 0.75 oz. lime juice
- 0.25 oz. Luxardo maraschino liqueur
- 0.25 oz. pink grapefruit juice
- 2 dashes simple syrup
Swirl ingredients together in a mixing glass, then pour over the rocks. Garnish with a slice of lime or grapefruit.
This is referred to as a Hemingway Daiquiri since it was most often served to outsiders who wanted to drink what the Man always drank. It is not what the Man always drank. That concoction is known as the Papa Doble, and you approximate it by doubling the rum and flash blending.
The Hemingway is a Daiquiri, so play with the ratios and serving style as you like. Avoid punching up the maraschino or grapefruit much more than here, or it will a) stop being a Daiquiri, and b)stop tasting good.
Any good Gospel needs some heresies, of course. And the poor Daiquiri suffers more than it’s brethren. No doubt this is due to its flexibility. Once you encourage people to play a bit with a classic, they will often go berserk. They’ll start claiming the cocktail was married and had children. Or they’ll go around nailing 99 Variants to the door of the Pegu Club. Or they’ll put in giant gobs of strawberry.
Looks gorgeous, doesn’t it? And not just because it’s a much better photograph than the one I took above. Ninety-eight out of a hundred Americans will look at the drink pictured here and say,
Fabulous Daiquiri! They will look at my Hemingway and go,
Huh? And that’s too bad. A real Daiquiri is a sublime, subtle concoction that does all the things a great cocktail should. It provides interest, provokes the appetite, loosens the tongue, and improves the mood. The Slurpee is a spring break, gut-busting mind-eraser. I’m not saying it isn’t tasty if made well. It is. I’m also not saying I never drink them. I do, on (the appropriate) occasion. But if you ever consider ordering a strawberry frozen
daiquiri to go with your adult, pre-dinner conversation, please just report to the Budweiser tent and save everyone a lot of trouble.
The Daiquiri is the Gospel of Rum. It is meant therefore to be a showcase of that spirit. Use the good stuff, and it will shine. Use cheap hooch, and it will punish you. Mask the taste with massive amounts of fruit pureé, and it won’t be a Daiquiri.
Thus endeth Daiquiri, The Book of Rum.
Here are the other posts here relating to the Four Gospels of the Cocktail:
The Manhattan, The Book of Whiskey
The Martini, The Book of Gin
The Sidecar, The Book of Brandy