Dreamy Daiquiri Recipe: Everything You Didn’t Know About this Cocktail

OK, ok, ok — we have to say this from the start: no, the Daiquiri recipe is not just another foo-foo-fruity blended ice drink that your grandma used to drink, or maybe you slurped at some spring break beach party.

Yes, it can be that and often has been, which is a shame. Because the real, original Daiquiri cocktail recipe is simple, awesome, and totally not a foo-foo-fruity blended ice drink! It’s actually going to become one of your new favorite orders at the bar.

It all starts with that lovely sugarcane distilled product — the beloved liquor known as rum. This Caribbean favorite was actually invented in either China or India, but we begin our Daiquiri story on the fabled island of Cuba. It was here where this marvelous and misunderstood drink got its start.

As mentioned, the Daiquiri cocktail was not born in a slushy machine but came from an incredibly brilliant but easy recipe with just three ingredients (which we will offer up later). How and why it became associated with ridiculous slurpy cups is a long story. But let’s reclaim this lovely adult beverage in its original form.

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A Cool Drink for Warm Trade Winds

For some reason, we can’t be sure we will ever know for sure, Cuba has been ground zero for all kinds of excellent cocktails. Yes, a big reason for it is the prodigious rum production on the island (although you’re not likely to find a Hot Toddy in that part of the tropics). But there’s also a tradition of creating tasty treats in a festive atmosphere.

Cold drinks go down easy in tropical climates, which may have helped create the refreshing and tangy Daiquiri cocktail. Unlike most mixed drinks, there is actual documentation in this one’s creation. And we have one Jennings Cox to thank for it.

Cuban Background

Cox was working as an engineer in 1898 in Cuba, during the height of the Spanish-American war. In the chaos, he threw a party and apparently ran out of gin. Rum was readily available, so he mixed up a punch he usually made with gin using the rum.

The recipe was simple, using lime juice and brown sugar to mix it all up. And as it turns out, the drink was a big hit with his festive friends. In no time, it was adopted throughout Cuba and came to be associated with the nearby port town of Daiquiri, where Cox first made it, and from where it gets its name.

By the 1890s, the Daiquiri cocktail created by an American on a Caribbean island started popping up stateside. Apparently, a US Navy Admiral named Lucius W. Johnson had visited Cuba and developed a taste for the concoction. He then supposedly introduced it to the Army and Navy Club in Washington, D.C., and the University Club in Baltimore.

To be fair, at that point, Cubans had been mixing local citrus juices with rum and sugar for generations. You can see all kinds of examples, from the Mojito to the Cuba Libre. But Cox wrote it down and named it, so the rest really is history.

daiquiri recipe for cocktail

Daiquiri Recipe

As you’ve probably figured out by now, the Daiquiri cocktail has nothing to do with ice machines and everything to do with a great, simple rum mixed drink. Here’s the definitive base cocktail that you can easily make on your own at home.

  • Prep Time 3 Minutes
  • Cook Time 2 Minutes
  • Total Time 5 Minutes
  • Serves 1 People
  • Calories 186 kcal

Ingredients

  • 2 oz light rum (or dark rum if you want more of a wallop)
  • 1 oz lime juice (freshly squeezed is best)
  • ¾ ounce demerara sugar syrup (or simple syrup, if that’s all you have)
  • Lime twist or wedge garnish

Instructions

  1. Pour the rum, lime juice, and demerara sugar syrup into a shaker with ice.
  2. Shake vigorously until nice and chilled, at least 30 seconds.
  3. Strain into a chilled highball glass or coupe.
  4. Garnish with a lime twist or wedge.

Notes

Now, the official way to go is with the demerara sugar syrup. That’s because it has pronounced molasses tones that will pop through the Daiquiri cocktail. But you can still get great results with simple syrup or even well-stirred finely granulated sugar if you’re in a pinch.That’s the simple recipe. As you are probably aware, there are a whole bunch of variants out there that include a seemingly endless muddled fruit version. Common versions include the Strawberry Daiquiri or Banana Daquiri. And yes, they make frozen slushy versions too. This is totally fine, but make sure you know the original, too!

Famous Daiquiri Fans

When you think of the early 20th century in Cuba, it will come as no surprise to you that Ernest Hemingway was really into Daiquiri cocktails. The fabled author was well known for haunting a bar there called El Floridita, where he enjoyed the beverage. He even helped create his own spin on the recipe.

Another famous 20th-century figure who loved his Daiquiris came to us not from the book-writing world but the halls of power. President John F. Kennedy was a huge fan of the Daiquiri cocktail. It was what he drank to celebrate his win against Richard Nixon in the 1960 presidential election! So go ahead and drink like you’re the leader of the free world!

 
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Brooklyn native, accent-having, travel lover, wordsmith and bud enthusiast. Versed from the streets of NYC, mixed with some world influence, writer/editor and medical user extraordinaire, JJ is here to tell you like it is and guide you to the finest. Brooklyn's favorite feminine stoner, your neighborhood contributor, wrapping leaves like a bandage and bringing you along for the ride.

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