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Cheers: The Proper Daiquiri

Daiquiris are not hard to make well, provided you can adhere to a couple easy-to-follow rules. That’s why they’re so useful for diagnosing the state of a bar’s cocktail-making ability—there’s nowhere to hide. If you’re using bad rum, or if your juice isn’t fresh, or if you lack the precision to get the ratios right, or if you don’t shake hard and long enough… the cocktail knows, and it can’t keep a secret.

How to Make a Good Daiquiri

Add the ingredients to a cocktail shaker with ice cubes. Shake well. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Serve and enjoy.

For standard Daiquiris we want a rum that is light, bright and tropical. These by tradition generally come from Spanish speaking countries (it’ll likely say “Ron,” which is the Spanish word for rum)—Ron Matusalem, Diplomatico, Mount Gay and Flor de Cana are all lovely examples—although personally, my favorite is Plantation 3-star, which is mostly Barbados rum with a touch of Jamaican and Trinidadian rums, for balance, and bottled at a slightly higher proof. The blend gives texture and force to what might, for some, be too agreeable.

The Daiquiri Over the Years

1898: The year Jennings Cox led a mining expedition in the small town of Daiquiri Cuba. He observed his co-workers mixing rum with their evening coffee and begun to experiment with his own version. That’s when he created the worlds very first Daiquiri.

1900’s: The daiquiri debuted in the United States when Rear Admiral Lucius W. Johnson brought the recipe to the Army & Navy Club in Washington, D.C.

1920’s: While in Cuba, Ernest Hemingway visited the Floridita Lounge. At his request, bartender Constantantio Ribalaigua created a daiquiri with double the rum, grapefruit, and lime juices with just a touch of maraschino cherry liqueur for sweetness (Hemingway was a diabetic). The Papa Doble, or Hemingway Daiquiri was born.

1930’s: The rise of the Tiki culture in the U.S.  Tiki historian, Jeff “Beachbum” Berry, considers the daiquiri one of his favorite subjects. “It is the foundation of all tropical drinks. All Tiki drinks are more or less a complicated version of the daiquiri.

1960’s: President John F. Kennedy sipped daiquiris on his sailboat, the Honey Fitz. Jackie Kennedy even trained White House staff to make hers.

1980’s:  The modern incarnation of the daiquiri was born in New Orleans. Developer David Briggs, Jr. moved his family to New Orleans and opened the first New Orleans Original Daiquiris in Hammond, Louisianna. What was once a complicated, costly, and inconsistent frozen drink becoming a premium drink available in a to-go cup.

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