The Enthralling Tale of Hemingway’s Beloved Daiquiri

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This article is proudly presented by National Geographic Traveller (UK).

What’s the Perfect Choice?

As we commemorate 100 years since the publication of Ernest Hemingway’s works in 2023, let’s raise a glass with his all-time favorite cocktail—the daiquiri. This delightful concoction, blending the harmonious trio of rum, lime, and sugar over ice, artfully balances strength, sourness, and sweetness. Interestingly, this year also marks the 125th anniversary of its invention.

Unraveling the Origins

Back in 1898, Jennings Stockton Cox Jr, a US engineer stationed in the southern Cuban town of Daiquiri while working for the Pennsylvania Steel Company, found himself amidst the Spanish-American War and a widespread yellow fever outbreak. Seeking solace, Cox turned to the local rum and added a twist of easily available ingredients—lime juice and sugar. It’s worth noting that even if it wasn’t Cox, someone else would likely have stumbled upon a similar combination, as locals had been experimenting with these ingredients for some time.

Which Rum is the Right One?

The original choice was Bacardi Carta Blanca rum, but other lighter white rums, like Diplomático Planas, work equally well. For a Cuban alternative, consider Eminente Reserva, a darker and more robust rum with a hint of tobacco—a choice that Hemingway himself would likely have approved of.

How to Savor It?

The classic ratio of eight parts rum, two parts lime juice, and one part sugar syrup delivers the most authentic experience but packs a punch. Nevertheless, with just three ingredients, experimenting to achieve the perfect balance of sourness, sweetness, and strength is both fun and easy. Regardless of your preference, remember to use fresh lime juice, premium rum, loads of ice, and shake it thoroughly before straining it into a chilled glass.

In Hemingway’s words regarding his beloved drink: “It shouldn’t taste of rum, it shouldn’t taste of lime, and it shouldn’t taste of sugar. It should just taste of daiquiri.”

The Birthplace of Flavor

To truly savor this zesty cocktail, there’s no better place than its birthplace.

Where to Enjoy It:

  1. El Floridita, Havana: Known as ‘la cuna del daiquiri,’ this iconic establishment is where Hemingway indulged and where bartender Constante Ribalaigua Vert first served the frozen daiquiri in the 1930s.

  2. Smuggler’s Cove, San Francisco: Don’t be deceived by the unassuming exterior; inside, you’ll find a tropical oasis with an impressive rum selection, including a masterfully crafted daiquiri.

  3. Schofield’s Bar, Manchester: The daiquiri is considered a mixologist’s litmus test, and this cocktail haven, run by two talented brothers, serves an exemplary classic version.

Fresh Lime Juice: The Secret to Signature Freshness

Classic Daiquiri Recipe:

This simple and refreshing recipe guarantees a crisp and balanced flavor profile.

Ingredients:

  • 50ml light white rum (charcoal-filtered, 1-4 years old)
  • 15ml lime juice (freshly squeezed)
  • 10ml Monin Pure Cane Sugar Syrup
  • 10ml chilled water

Method:

  1. Grate the zest from your lime for garnish before squeezing it for juice.
  2. Shake all the ingredients with ice and fine strain into a chilled glass.

Published in Issue 20 (summer 2023) of Food by National Geographic Traveller (UK).

To subscribe to National Geographic Traveller (UK) magazine, click here. (Available in select countries only).

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about daiquiri

What is the daiquiri cocktail?

The daiquiri is a classic cocktail made with a delightful combination of rum, lime juice, sugar, and ice. It offers a perfect balance of strength, sourness, and sweetness, making it a beloved choice among cocktail enthusiasts.

Who is associated with the daiquiri as their favorite drink?

The daiquiri was Ernest Hemingway’s favorite cocktail. As we celebrate 100 years since the publication of Hemingway’s works in 2023, it’s a fitting tribute to raise a glass with his beloved drink.

What is the history behind the daiquiri?

The daiquiri’s history dates back to 1898 when a US engineer named Jennings Stockton Cox Jr was stationed in the Cuban town of Daiquiri during the Spanish-American War and a yellow fever outbreak. Seeking a refreshing drink, he combined local rum with lime juice and sugar, creating the early version of the daiquiri.

Which rum is traditionally used in the daiquiri?

The original rum used in the daiquiri was Bacardi Carta Blanca. However, lighter white rums like Diplomático Planas are also excellent choices. For a Cuban alternative, consider Eminente Reserva, a darker and more robust rum.

How should the daiquiri be prepared?

The classic daiquiri recipe involves eight parts rum, two parts lime juice, and one part sugar syrup, but feel free to experiment with the proportions to suit your taste. Always use fresh lime juice, premium rum, and plenty of ice. Shake the ingredients well before straining the mixture into a chilled glass.

Are there any recommended places to enjoy a daiquiri?

Certainly! For an authentic experience, visit El Floridita in Havana, known as the birthplace of the daiquiri and a place where Hemingway himself frequented. Smuggler’s Cove in San Francisco and Schofield’s Bar in Manchester are also renowned for their excellent daiquiris.

Can you share a classic daiquiri recipe?

Certainly! Here’s a classic daiquiri recipe for you to enjoy:

Ingredients:

  • 50ml light white rum (charcoal-filtered, 1-4 years old)
  • 15ml freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 10ml Monin Pure Cane Sugar Syrup
  • 10ml chilled water

Method:

  1. Grate the zest from a lime for garnish before squeezing it for juice.
  2. Shake all the ingredients with ice and fine strain into a chilled glass.

Where can I find the original article?

The original article was published in Issue 20 (summer 2023) of Food by National Geographic Traveller (UK). To access the full article and more exciting content, you can subscribe to National Geographic Traveller (UK) magazine.

More about daiquiri

  • National Geographic Traveller (UK) – Link
  • Bacardi Carta Blanca – Link
  • Diplomático Planas – Link
  • Eminente Reserva – Link
  • El Floridita, Havana – Link
  • Smuggler’s Cove, San Francisco – Link
  • Schofield’s Bar, Manchester – Link
  • Classic Daiquiri Recipe – Link
  • National Geographic Traveller (UK) Subscription – Link

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