Rum, lime, sugar…quite simply the world’s best cocktail.
The power of the Daiquiri goes far beyond those swirling machines behind the bars I frequented during college that were filled with corn syrup and cheap rum. The classic Daiquiri’s basic ratio of fresh lime, white rum and sugar is refreshing and delightful, but the essence of the Daiquiri — the simple yet awe-inspiring combination of flavors — makes an appearance in more essential cocktails than you might think. This is why the Daiquiri is the most important cocktail of them all.
The Daiquiri dates back to the late 1800s in the small Cuban mining town of, wait for it…Daiquiri. Legend has it that a young American engineer who had been sent to work in Daiquiri picked a lime to quench his thirst. Taking limes to make limeade, this engineer used a little sugar to balance the acidity and then just coincidentally happened to have a bottle of Bacardi Superior with him for the occasion. A little bit of this, a little bit of that, and voila!, the “Ron Bacardi a la Daiquiri” was born.
Far fetched? Probably, but it certainly makes for great marketing material. Limes, sugar and rum were abundant in the Caribbean prior to the arrival of our fabled American as the British Navy issued rum and limes to their ranks in the late 1700s. But it was definitely America that made the Daiquiri a legend in its own right. From F. Scott Fitzgerald and Ernest Hemingway to John F. Kennedy and Franklin D. Roosevelt, Americans were buzzing about the Daiquiri, and, like any great piece of art, it most certainly had its imitators.
Take the Mojito for example. Rum, lime, sugar, soda and mint. You need a special tool (the muddler) and a bottle of seltzer to make this cocktail sparkle, and prior to the cocktail renaissance of the past decade, you’d be lucky to find a bartender who would make you this muddled piece of magic. Whether plain, filled with kumquats and jalapenos or spiced with apples and cinnamon, whenever you drink your next mojito, pay homage to the delectable Daiquiri.
Or maybe you’re a fan of the Margarita. Salt, lime, tequila. A sweet splash of Cointreau or Grand Marnier for an upcharge. Maybe it’s skinny, or maybe it’s sweet, but the next time you toss one back with a few street tacos, praise be to the almighty D.
The rustic Caipirinha? Cachaca, lime, sugar. This cocktail has certainly exploded in popularity over the past two to three years following a renewed interest in cachaca, but to what do we owe this grassy delight? This one’s a no-brainer as cachaca is basically Brazilian rum, and that makes the Caipirinha a Brazilian Daiquiri.
There are countless ways bartenders have embellished the original Daiquiri, be it the addition of bitters or by freezing it with strawberry, but this July 19th, on National Daiquiri Day, I hope you’ll join me and try a Daiquiri the way God intended: by grabbing a bag full of limes, some simple syrup, a new bottle of Bacardi and a hearty handful of your closest friends.
The Only Daiquiri Recipe You’ll Ever Need
2 ounces Bacardi Superior (light rum)
3/4 ounce Simple Syrup
3/4 ounce Fresh Lime Juice
Shake with ice. Strain into a chilled martini glass and garnish with a lime wheel.