Great Cocktails: The Classic Daiquiri

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The Classic Daiquiri
The Classic Daiquiri

The rum daiquiri is one of world’s great drinks, yet it’s often prepared so poorly that you’d never know it. Somehow, someone, somewhere got it into their heads that a daiquiri should be thrown into a blender with lots of sugar, and lots of fruit, and made into something closer to a slurpee than a cocktail. In reality, a properly made classic daiquiri is a beautifully elegant and delicious drink.

While we don’t know exactly where or how the classic daiquiri was invented – many countries and bars lay claim to its origin – the drink came somewhere out of the Caribbean where sugarcane, rum, and limes are plentiful. As with many great classic cocktails, the daiquiri is made with three simple ingredients: rum, lime, and sugar. This basic structure is nearly identical with other tropical rum classics like the Ti Punch, Caipirinha, and Mojito (which adds mint to the mix).

A great classic daiquiri is all about balancing lime, sugar, and strong rum. It’s extremely easy for one of these elements to overpower the daiquiri, so when making a daiquiri it is essential to be precise with your measurements and always use a jigger. It’s also extremely important to use fresh lime juice. Using bottled lime juice will turn your drink into something barely palatable. This difference is as significant as the one between a fast food hamburger and a burger at a steakhouse.

The Classic Daiquiri

1 1/2 oz Rum
3/4 oz simple syrup
3/4 oz fresh squeezed lime juice

Shake with ice and strain into a coupe glass. Garnish with a lime.

The best place to start with the classic daiquiri is with a white rum like Bacardi Supreme, Brugal Especial Extra Dry, Angostura Reserva, or Denizen Rum. Starting with a white rum shows off the dry quality of this cocktail and makes it a perfect aperitif cocktail that holds its own against other great aperitifs like the martini.

The daiquiri can also stand in as an ideal after dinner drink if you choose a more complex rum like Banks Five Island Rum or a darker rum like Appleton Estates – you get something that tastes completely different. Using darker sugars for your simple syrup like demerara also dramatically transforms the drink.

The daiquiri may have gotten a bad rap from its time spent as a blended slushy, but it is truly one of the world’s great cocktails, one that when prepared correctly will impress even the most picky of imbibers.