When you hear the word "daiquiri," thoughts of the strawberry red sugar-bombs you've seen in Red Lobster commercials likely come to mind. Sadly, this is today's reality for one of the most simple and delicious classics you can order. These (somewhat douchey) bartenders even contend that making a great daiquiri is the true test of a bartender's skill.
But daiquiris don't have to be pretentious. In fact, they don't have to be sweet (and really aren't when made properly). The folks at Papa's Pilar should know, given they've dedicated their distillery to Hemingway, a man (almost) as famous for his riff on the classic as his writing.
The story goes that Hemingway stopped into Havana's El Floridita bar, while living nearby in the 1930's. Being the lush that he was, he insisted on a daiquiri made with double the rum. From there, the story about how the Hemingway Daiquiri came to be blurs. Some say he ordered nothing more than rum and lime juice, others insist he added the ingredients you'll find in his namesake cocktail today. What we can say definitively is that a sugarless daiquiri isn't something you would want to drink. Here's what you'll find in your glass if you order one today.
The Hemingway Daiquiri
2 oz. Papa's Pilar Blonde Rum
.75 oz. fresh lime juice
.5 oz. fresh grapefruit juice
.5 oz. Maraschino liqueur
.5 oz. simple syrup (1:1)
Grapefruit juice, Maraschino liqueur and a bit of simple syrup are welcome additions to Hemingway's sugarless original. They provide much-needed sweetness to balance out the tart lime juice and a bit of depth to an otherwise boring drink.
If this sounds a bit too fussy for you, perhaps sticking with the traditional daiquiri might be right up your alley. Consisting of just three properly-portioned ingredients, the classic daiquiri makes for an incredibly drinkable cocktail that you can easily impress your friends with.
The Classic Daiquiri
2 oz. Papa's Pilar Dark Rum
1 oz. fresh lime juice
1 oz. simple syrup (1:1)
You'll find that many daiquiri recipes suggest using a white rum, but I prefer the depth that dark rums provide. Here I'm using Papa's Pilar Dark, which is good enough to drink on the rocks, but affordable enough to make one hell of a cocktail.
So there you have it folks. A bit of history on Hemingway and how he put his name on more than books nearly 100 years ago. Hopefully, if you were only familiar with sugary chain restaurant daiquiris, you'll consider giving this classic another chance.
*Papa's Pilar sent me a sample of each rum mentioned to try. If I didn't like them, I wouldn't have written about them. Trust me on that.
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Filed under: Cocktails