A daiquiri is as diverse as the rum you put in it.
As we continue to celebrate National Daiquiri Day (July 19th), we thought it might be appropriate to do some Daiquiri taste testing to get us in the holiday spirit. So we grabbed some of our favorite bottles of rum and set ourselves the task of trying them all in the traditional Daiquiri recipe.
The flavors and varieties within the world of rum are just as diverse as the regions they come from. Add them individually to a simple cocktail as the Daiquiri and they each make their own magic.
Bacardi Superior: The Gold Standard
Legend has it that Bacardi that was used to spice up the original Daiquiri in the 1800s. Considering “Bacardi Carta Blanca” was easily the most available and the smoothest rum on the market at the time, it’s not a stretch to say that most Daiquiris made in the early 1900s were made using Bacardi.
Smooth, subtle and sublime, the Bacardi Daiquiri is the best representation of the spirit. Master this, and then you can get adventurous.
Rhum J.M. Rhum Agricole Paille: Funky & Fun
On the French islands of Martinique, pressed sugarcane, rather than molasses, is used to produce rhum agricole, giving the spirit a grassy and musty edge that can only be compared to Brazilian cachaca (which is made using the same process).
If you use Rhum J.M.’s blanc (or white rum), you might as well save yourself a few dozen dollars and make a Caipirinha, but making the move to their gold is well worth the price of admission. Aged for 12 months in re-charred bourbon barrels, you’ll find hints of caramel, anise and dried fruit that you won’t find in cachaca. This makes for an excellent twist on the Daiquiri elevating it to complexities beyond compare.
Pusser’s British Navy Rum: Go Old School
Known as the “single malt” rum, Pusser’s touts itself as the original recipe that was sent with the British Naval fleets as they made sure “the sun never set on the British empire.” Stout is the best way to describe this rum — musty, old, shoe, leather. It’s rough, like John Wayne in The Searchers rough, but mix it in a classic Daiquiri, and wow. (Read more about Pusser's Navy Rum here.)
It’s a hearty cocktail, and the first burst of alcohol will certainly leave you reeling. But I love it because it’s a taste of history. I imagine myself, drenched with sea, the brine of the ocean filling my nostrils while I long for a drink to quench my thirst. I’m not trying to enjoy my cocktail. I’m drinking to forget, and I’m pounding a couple of these just to make it through the day.
Sailor Jerry: Sugar & Spice
From the British Navy to a tattoo artist known as “the Sailor,” we take an easier approach to the Daiquiri with this deliciously spiced rum. Vanilla and cinnamon are the predominant flavors of this magnificent spirit. (Read more about Sailor Jerry Spice Rum here.)
The Daiquiri accentuates the spices, and the result falls somewhere between appetizer and dessert. I suppose you would call that “the main course.” Either way, it’s one of my favorite interpretations on the classic and is an instant hit at parties.
Angostura 1919: Indulge
We’ll finish this run of rums with an indulgent, but almost necessarily lavish Daiquiri made with this 8-year rum from the island of Trinidad.
Aged in charred American bourbon barrels, this rum is a spectacular finish to any celebratory evening. On its own, Angostura’s 1919 has some pretty intense floral notes that casual rum drinkers may not enjoy. But when made into a Daiquiri, those floral notes become accents to the burnt sugar and vanilla flavors that begin to dominate.
If you’re trying this at your local watering hole, tell the barkeep you’d like your Daiquiri a little less sweet. This aged rum is naturally sweeter, so it’s best to drink your Daiquiri a little on the sour side. If you’re making it at home, start with just the lime and rum, then add the syrup to taste.