Thursday, April 2, 2015


Having grown up in Louisiana, I think of a "Daiquiri" as a bright red concoction served frozen in a giant styrofoam cup, possibly from a drive-thru window. But this bears little resemblance to the actual cocktail, except perhaps for the inclusion of rum. A real Daiquiri is a simple mix of rum, lime juice, and sugar. It's similar to the Gimlet and the Margarita, which replace the rum with gin and tequila, respectively. While it's a far cry from a flashy craft cocktail, this simple mixture is classic, refreshing, and very drinkable. It also provides a blank canvas for all sorts of variations that I look forward to trying in the future.

History: Most historians agree that, given its common ingredients, the Daiquiri was probably invented multiple times. Rum was a widely available spirit in the Caribbean, and sailors drank lime juice to prevent scurvy. Mixing the two together with some sugar is just good sense. But the Daiquiri that rose to widespread popularity hails from Cuba, and gets its name from an iron mine outside of Santiago. I've found several versions of the story of its creation that at first seem like disparate accounts, but after some digging I think I've figured out how they all fit together - take it with a grain of salt. Jennings Cox, an American mining engineer, was working at the Daiquiri mine when he received a visit from F. D. Pagliuchi, another engineer of unclear nationality. Pagliuchi was interested in reviving some abandoned mines in the area. Cox couldn't get his hands on any gin (the fashionable spirit of the time), and he was worried about serving Pagliuchi the local rum. So he mixed up a cocktail with lime and sugar to class it up. They named the concoction after the mine.

The Daiquiri was brought to the United States in 1902 by Congressman William A. Chanler. He had just gone to Cuba to check on his new investment, the El Cobre copper mine. Intrigued, I tried to find out more about the mine and came across some old documents that list Pagliuchi as involved in its purchase and restoration. So it's possible that Chanler was introduced to the Daiquiri by one of its creators. He brought the drink back to the best clubs in New York, where it became a classic cocktail.


2 oz. white rum
3/4 oz. simple syrup
3/4 oz. lime juice

Combine all ingredients in a shaker over ice and shake until chilled. Strain into a cocktail glass and garnish with a wedge of lime.

Recipe from Vintage Cocktails.

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