Like many classic cocktails, the origin story, and history, of the Daiquiri is one that should be taken with a grain of salt.
According to legend, the tale goes that an American mining engineer who was stationed in Cuba, a man by the name of Jennings Cox, ran out of gin at a party back in 1898. His instincts led him to grab a bottle of local gin and to mix it with mineral water, sugar, and lime—a mix that ended up being a hit with his guests. He decided to name it after a local beach, Daiquiri.
Since then, the Daiquiri has taken many shapes and forms throughout time—mostly frozen until the contemporary cocktail revolution—but has now become a staple for bartenders all over the world. Why is that? Other than the fact that it’s an incredibly delicious serve when executed properly, the Daiquiri requires impeccable technique and is a reflection of a bartender’s talent. The Daiquiri is also the best template to use when you want to learn about flavor profiles of various styles of rum and how they play in sour-style cocktails.
The marriage of strong, sour, and sweet in this classic cocktail is dependent on the freshness of the lime juice, the choice of rum, the sugar content of the syrup, the ice chosen to shake with, the technique of the bartender, and the formula used. Yes, it only has three ingredients, but “perfect” doesn’t mean just shaken and tossed into a coupette. While fresh lime and a standard 2:1 cane syrup are pretty straightforward, rum choice, technique, the formula, and the type of ice used are the places to focus on to create the perfect Daiquiri.
Let’s start with the formula. The classic specs are two ounces base spirit, 3/4 ounce sweetener, 3/4 ounce sour—these specs aren’t bad and are respectable, but upping the sour to one ounce will make for a fresh, lively sour that still finds a balance due to the tropical, grassy sweetness of a white rum. As for the rum, many bars these days employ their own rum blend for a Daiquiri. Sometimes it may involve a dash of rhum agricole, or an aged Jamaican-style rum like Appleton Estate, so finding a blend that works for you is an individual R&D task.
If you are to go with two ounces of one type of white rum, Plantation 3-star and Diplomatico Planas are both great options—the latter being a bit stronger in proof than the former. BACARDÍ Añejo Cuatro also makes for sophisticated Daiquiris. Now, when it comes to ice and technique (which we will pair together as they go hand-in-hand), the preference should always be given to one large cube if that’s a feasible option for your bar. A proper 12-15 second shake with one of those bad boys, and you’ll have the frothiest, most delicious Daiquiri that you could ask for as long as you temper the ice first, and shake vigorously in an elliptical motion—as opposed to back and forth like a piston—to keep the ice from shattering in the tin (allowing dilution to occur at a quicker rate).
If your bar does not have large cubes available for shaking, then kold draft (or equivalent) 1-inch cubes will suffice and you should give a vigorous shake after tempering the ice in the tin for 10-12 seconds. The result will likely be superior with the large cube, but both methods and recipes will yield quality serves.
- 2 oz. BACARDÍ Superior rum
- 1 oz. fresh lime juice
- 3/4 oz. cane syrup (2:1)
Preparation: Add ingredients to the shaker with ice; shake until desired temperature and dilution, and strain into the coupette. Garnish with an optional lime wheel.