The Daiquiri is a rum-based classic cocktail enjoyed around the world. With only three ingredients, it’s easy to make – but don’t overlook this drink because of its simplicity. The Daiquiri is the perfect cocktail for sipping on hot summer nights.
The same name is given to the giant alcoholic slushy served up at cheap all-inclusive beach resorts with strawberries, which is a shame. The classic Daiquiri is a small, refined cocktail about 5 oz in volume, including dilution through shaking.
The Daiquiri originated in Cuba between 1898 and 1902, depending on whose account you believe. It was introduced to the United States in 1909 by Rear Admiral Lucius W. Johnson, a U.S. Navy medical officer. Harry Craddock, the famous prohibition-era bartender who fled to London, published the recipe in The Savoy Cocktail Book in 1930. It was one of the few recipes he embellished with additional commentary – in this case, a quote from a 1920 essay by Joseph Hergesheimer.
The moment had arrived for a Daiquiri. It was a delicate compound; it elevated my contentment to an even higher pitch. Unquestionably the cocktail in my table was a dangerous agent, for it held in its shallow glass bowl slightly encrusted with undissolved sugar the power of a contemptuous indifference to fate; it set the mind free of responsibility; obliterating both memory and tomorrow, it gave the heart an adventitious feeling of superiority and momentarily vanquished all the celebrated, the eternal fears.– Joseph Hergesheimer. San Cristobal de la Habana. 1920
If you’re learning mixology, the Daiquiri is a great beginner cocktail because of the simple recipe. As long as you measure precisely and properly chill the cocktail, you can’t go wrong!
Why I love this cocktail
I live in Texas, and the summers get hot. Well into the 100s. I remember years when it topped 100 degrees for 100 days in a row. The relentless heat makes any outdoor activity oppressive. Even the water in my swimming pool tops 90 degrees. Taking a dip in the pool feels like slipping into a tepid bath.
With no respite from the heat, we turn to cocktails. After a sweltering summer day, when we finally get the kids to bed, there is nothing finer than sitting on the back patio with my wife, sipping an arctic-cold Daiquiri.
For me, the Daiquiri is the drink of summer. The sweetness of the rum and the tartness of the lime create a clean, crisp cocktail that cools and refreshes the body and spirit.
- 2 oz Rum
- 3/4 oz Simple Syrup
- 3/4 oz Lime Juice
- 1 Lime Wedge
- Combine ingredients in cocktail shaker
- Add ice cubes and shake until chilled
- Double-strain into a chilled coupe glass
- Garnish with a lime wedge
Detailed instructions and notes
I like to serve the Daiquiri in a coupe glass, but any small, stemmed glass will work. Chill the glass beforehand in the freezer or by filling it with with ice and water while you mix the drink. Since the drink is served without ice, pouring it into a chilled couple will help it stay cold.
It should go without saying, but always use freshly squeezed lime juice. Strain out the pulp, either when you squeeze the limes or when you double-strain the finished drink into the glass.
There are many different opinions on the proper ratio of acidity (sour) to sweetness in a Daiquiri. I prefer equal parts of lime juice to simple syrup, but let your own taste be the judge. For a more sour cocktail, use a full 1 oz (30 ml) of lime juice to 3/4 oz (22.5 ml) simple sugar. Just don’t go the other way and make it too sweet.
And remember please, that a too-sweet Daiquiri is like a lovely lady with too much perfume.– Charles H. Baker. The Gentleman’s Companion: Being an Exotic Drinking Book or, Around the World with Jigger, Beaker and Flask. 1939
Shake the cocktail long enough to chill thoroughly. Because the freezing point of alcohol is lower than water, the cocktail can reach about 20˚F (-6˚ C) in the shaker. I shake 20-30 seconds, or until the shaker itself is so cold it’s uncomfortable to hold.
I double-strain my Daiquiris. This means pouring the drink through two strainers on its way from the shaker to the glass. First, put a Hawthorne strainer in the shaker to catch the big ice chunks, and then pour through a fine mesh strainer to remove the ice shards and any fruit pulp.
How to garnish the Daiquiri
The Daiquiri should be garnished with a lime wedge. I used a lime wheel in the photograph for visual appeal, and you can go that route if you’re confident in the balance of your drink.
However, a lime wedge is a more functional garnish. A lime wedge allows the drinker to add additional acidity (sourness) to the cocktail, adjusting it to taste. Trying to squeeze a lime wheel results in sticky fingers and juice everywhere.
Not all limes are created equally. Some are more sour than others. Serving the drink with a lime wedge allows the drinker to fix it if it’s a little too sweet.
When I’m making Daiquiris for my summer nighttime ritual on the back patio, I don’t garnish them at all.
Best rum for a Daiquiri
The original and classic rum for a Daiquiri is Bacardi Superior. You’ll never go wrong mixing with the original, but you’ll be making the same Daiquiri that everyone else is making. The Bacardi rum is good, and I’ve often kept it in my bar for Daiquiris and Mojitos.
My favorite rum for the Daiquiri is Flor de Caña Extra Seco, a 4-year aged white rum from Nicaragua. It’s a sustainably produced rum and the first spirit to be carbon neutral and fair trade certified. I love the Flor de Caña for its earthy yet sweet flavor, and it stands up very well in mixed drinks.
Havana Club Añejo Blanco is another good rum that’s very similar to the Bacardi, but with a little more character. However, I like the Flor de Caña better, and the Havana Club seems overpriced for what it is. I do love the bottles, though. I take the labels off and use them for simple syrup, lime juice, and other home-made mixers.
What’s your favorite rum for a Daiquiri? Leave it in the comments below.