The cocktail is an art form that peaked in the middle of the 20th century and has been in rapid decline since. As a young lad, I was schooled in the fine art of cocktailing by my father and grandfathers, I learned many valuable lessons that I plan to pass on. I also want to resurrect some of the old classics that vastly surpass the sugary & fruity concoctions made today with their simplicity, elegance and bold flavors. Most of the time I will focus on one drink, and to provide, at least in my opinion, the definitive recipe, but hope to expand to other related topics as I see fit. Please mix yourself a cocktail, read, drink, and enjoy!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Daiquiri

No treatise on rum would be complete without discussing the Daiquiri. I am not talking about the cheap rum spiked slurpees so popular at every all-inclusive resort south of the Mason–Dixon Line, I am talking about the sophisticated concoction that was a favorite both John F. Kennedy and Ernest Hemingway. Forget everything that you think you know about a daiquiri and read on for a brief education on a true classic.

It is difficult to pin down the exact origin of this godly nectar, as sugar, lime and rum were combined in various ways throughout the Caribbean and South America since the beginning of time. For the purposes of our discussion we will focus on the Cuban origins. Daiquirí is the name of a beach near Santiago, Cuba, as well as an iron mine in the same area. Around the turn of the century a group of American mining engineers were in the Venus bar in Santiago and they are credited with inventing an early variation of this drink that was served over ice in a tall glass. Over time the drink evolved into one that was made in a shaker and served in a cocktail glass. The drink spread to the US early in the 20th and slowly gained popularity.

David Embury lists this drink as one of his six basic cocktails and there is little need to diverge from his original recipe. In a cocktail shaker start with ¼ oz of simple syrup, add ½ oz of fresh lime juice and 2 oz of white rum. Embury calls for a Cuban rum, but unless you have some pre-embargo stuff lying around we will need to use something else. Basic Bacardi is prevalent and will make a passable cocktail. As this is drink is almost all rum though, consider using something a little nicer such as Cruzan Estate Light Rum. Fill the shaker with ice, shake and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Serve this with the smugness of knowing that you will never again stoop so low as to consume the common bastardization of such a great cocktail.

Daiquiri
¼ oz simple syrup
½ oz lime juice
2 oz white rum
Mix all ingredients in an ice filled shaker. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

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