When most people hear the word “Daiquiri,” they think of bright red, overly sweet frozen drinks that are served at resort pools and New Orleans drive-thrus.

And while these variations certainly have their place in the American cocktail canon, they are a far cry from the classic recipe. A Daiquiri is simply made with rum, lime juice, and simple syrup, shaken and served up in a coupe glass. Its perfect, sweet-tart flavor makes it one of the most satisfying and refreshing cocktails around.

The drink has a storied history that started in Cuba. While the Daiquiri was probably being served in the country long before, the first written recipe card was signed by Jennings Cox in 1896. Cox was an American engineer who lived and worked in Cuba following the Spanish-American War. It’s said that when he ran out of gin one evening during a cocktail party, he replaced the spirit with rum. He dubbed this new punch “Daiquiri,” which was the name of a nearby town. About a decade later, Admiral Lucius W. Johnson visited Cox in Cuba and loved the rum cocktail. He brought it back and first introduced it in the United States at the Army and Navy Club in Washington, D.C.

The Daiquiri’s recipe format is nothing new. Grog, an ancestor to the drink, was around for centuries before when the British Royal Navy sipped it on the high seas. The mix of rum, sugar, lime juice, and water was imbibed to prevent scurvy. Daiquiris reached peak popularity in the ‘40s and ‘50s, when tiki bars started popping up around the country following WWII. And while it got sweeter and strayed further from the original recipe in the ‘80s and ‘90s, the Daiquiri has returned to a place of glory following the cocktail renaissance of the early aughts.

A quality Daiquiri is wholly dependent on the ingredients you use to make it. Fresh lime juice and homemade simple syrup, along with an excellent white rum, will help you craft the best version of the drink possible. Mix one up the next time you feel like drinking a refreshing piece of history.

Classic Daiquiri cocktails with lime wheel garnish

Classic Daiquiri

Photo by Brent Hofacker/Shutterstock

Daiquiri

Ingredients:

  • 2 oz. White Rum
  • .75 oz. Lime Juice
  • .75 oz. Simple Syrup or Demerara Syrup
  • Lime Wheel (for Garnish)

Preparation: Add all liquid ingredients to a cocktail tin with ice. Shake and strain into a coupe glass. Garnish with a lime wheel.