It begins here. Rum, lime, sugar. Simple, elegant, delicious. Yet the years have been cruel to this wonderful drink. Perhaps no cocktail has been so butchered and debased during The Dark Ages of cocktail history (c. 1975 – 2000). No word – strawberry, frozen – should ever be inserted before the word Daiquiri. No drink is as perfectly refreshing on a sticky summer day. A Mojito!, I hear you cry, but what, dear reader, is a Mojito but a Daiquiri in a long glass with some mint and soda? Favourite of JFK and Hemingway, template to the Tiki revolution, catalyst of the cocktail Renaissance; we are humbled by your perfection, oh mighty Daiquiri. Indeed, I pray to the Tiki gods that I pass from this dark world with a Daiquiri in my hand. I’ll need an ice cold drink where I’m going…
Easy to make well but challenging to perfect. Learning to make a classic Daiquiri teaches the eager cocktail student three essentials.
1. The classic proportions that form the template of a thousand excellent drinks – 8:3:2 (fine-tuned to taste, of course)
2. The technique: the shake, the chilled glass, the freshness of the components. Essentials by which every cocktail stands or falls.
3. The balance of sweet and sour is the key to many a drink but none more so than the Daiquiri. Perfect this and you have reached the very gates of mixological enlightenment.
The Daiquiri also serves as the universal benchmark cocktail for judging a mixing rum. If a rum works well in a Daiquiri then make a place for it in your cabinet. If it does not you may as well let the sink drink it. The classic recipe follows. You can make your own adjustments but go too far and you lose the right to call it a Daiquiri and must give it a new name. Don’t blame me, them’s the rules. With the noble Daiquiri under your belt you are ready to go out boldly into cocktail-land and conquer all that lies before you.
2oz of a good Cuban style white rum
0.75oz freshly squeezed lime juice
0.5oz simple syrup
Shake well with ice and strain into a chilled (pref. champagne coupe) glass.
No garnish is required or, indeed, desirable.
rum: For white I suggest Havana Club 3 anjos (the real Cuban one) or Plantation 3 Stars. Lesser rums will crash and burn in a Daq. Do experiment with gold and even dark rums. You will be rewarded. And verily. If using overproof rum reduce the quantity to 1.5oz. Or not.
lime juice: freshly squeezed and ideally no more that 6 hours old. Sourness may vary so see below.
sugar syrup: begin with 1:1 white sugar syrup and fine-tune the quantity until you find the prefect balance. I also suggest trying richer syrup and reducing the amount.