Straight Up: Will You Help Save the Daiquiri?

Straight Up: Will You Help Save the Daiquiri?

Nora Maynard
May 30, 2008

A tart, cool thirst-quencher that merges the rich warmth of rum with the zippy tang of lime, the Daiquiri is the perfect cocktail to put even the most office cubicle-weary of us in an island mood.

But sadly this sultry, storied favorite of both JFK and Ernest Hemingway is well on its way to becoming an endangered species: The Daiquiri needs your help.

This is the message of the "Save the Daiquiri" website, created last year by Rhum Clément (the company will also be presenting an event of the same name at Tales of the Cocktail in New Orleans in July). Filled with luscious photos, recipes, and bits of cocktail lore, the site aims to reignite the public's passion for this near-forgotten frosty drink.

But wait - let's back up a bit. The Daiquiri endangered? They're everywhere - aren't they? Well, yes and no.

Much like the Margarita, the Daiquiri is a cocktail that at some point split off in two very different directions: First there was the classic - a simple variation on the sour, combining rum, lime juice, and sugar, served straight up. Then there was its frozen incarnation: a refreshing blend of rum, pulverized ice, and lime, often pureed together with fresh fruit. But then, somewhere along the way, the Daiquiri suffered an identity crisis, morphing into a slushy, artificially-flavored drink with a rummy kick.

This, dear readers, is why the long-suffering Daiquiri needs your help.

Like most cocktail nativity stories, the origins of the Daiquiri are a matter of some debate. According to one account, the classic formula was first stumbled upon in Cuba in 1905 by American mining engineer, Jennings Cox, who improvised after he ran out of gin while making sours for guests. Another (less likely) story has the cocktail being first concocted for purely medicinal purposes - as a cure for malaria. But, as many have pointed out, the simple ingredients rum, cane sugar, and lime have been a staple of Cuban drinks for generations. However trampled, the Daiquiri is a survivor with deep and hardy roots.

Classic Daiquiri
makes one cocktail

2 ounces light rum
1/2 ounce simple syrup
1 ounce fresh lime juice

Combine all ingredients in a cocktail shaker over ice. Shake and strain into a cocktail glass.

[Some recipe variations on the "Save the Daiquiri" site include the Apple Blossom (rum, apple liquor, lemon juice, and simple syrup), and the Hemingway (rum, maraschino liqueur, lime juice, and grapefruit juice), and a few tasty-looking others.]

Frozen? Classic? Tell us your take on the Daiquiri.

Related: Margaritas to Make Men & Women Giggle

(Images: Nora Maynard)


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