How you doin’? It’s Happy Hour Friday! In a few hours I’ll be pulling up a lounge chair on my patio to get ready for another Covid-19 happy hour date night. The warmer weather has arrived in Southern California and while still locked in, I might as well have a cocktail or two. If you haven’t already heard, alcohol consumption in the United States is up over 250% since the coronavirus lock down. If you’re going to have a few cocktails remember to call Uber or Lyft.
DRINK RESPONSIBLY… DON’T DRIVE BUZZED!
Okay, the temperatures are reaching into the high 80s and mid-90s which is a great excuse for summertime, warm weather cocktails. When I think of warm weather cocktails, the Daiquiri comes to mind as one of the most common and popular.
The Daiquiri represents an obvious marriage between local Caribbean island ingredients—rum, sugar, limes— and American technology—cocktail shaker and ice. The Daiquiri caught on around the Caribbean during Prohibition and then grew in popularity in the States during the second World War, when rum was easy to get but whiskey wasn't. It is said that John F. Kennedy drank a Daiquiri the night he was elected president. So, drink up… you're in good company.
The Daiquiri was also the preferred drink of Ernest Hemingway. The old man and the sea author used to hang out at the El Floridita bar in Havana and drink Daiquiris—lots of them. One afternoon, he was said to have broken the El Floridita record by drinking 17 Daiquiris. He didn't drink his with sugar, just a double shot of rum. And that, my intoxicated friend, is how the Papa Doble, or Hemingway Daiquiri, was invented.
Hemingway is long gone, but El Floridita still lives on in his image, literally; the bar is decked out with pictures and statues in his likeliness. There's also a sign there that reads "La Cuna Del Daiquiri"—the cradle of the Daiquiri.
You don't even need to get out the blender, though the Daiquiri is most often seen in slushie form, often injected with strawberry flavoring--ick! It's really a simple, strained cocktail. The three ingredients are shaken over ice and then strained into a chilled cocktail glass straight up.
All the ingredients are of tropical descent—the Caribbean islands (ya mon), so it's fair to categorize the Daiquiri as a drink best served under palm leaves. But with sugar, rum for earthy sweetness and fresh lime juice for tart counterbalance, it's always good, regardless of locale. And all you really need for it besides what you have stocked in the kitchen is a bottle of really good white rum.
You don’t have to be a trained baresta to make a Daiquiri. Here's the road map to make this essential, indomitable “classic” rum cocktail.
1/2 oz. fresh lime juice
1/2 teaspoon superfine sugar
2 oz. fine white rum
Lime wheel garnish
Squeeze the lime into a shaker, stir in the sugar, then add rum. Shake well with cracked ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Cheers!
ChefSecret: Classic rum drinks are plentiful in the Caribbean and around the world. Think Mojito—it, too, was a favorite of Hemingway—as was the Dark and Stormy. The Brazilian Caipirinha is like a Daiquiri on the rocks made with Brazil's Cachaça—a Rio rum from further south. And for another cocktail attributed to Hemingway that is wholly dissimilar from the Daiquiri, try Hemingway's Death in the Afternoon. It has absinthe and brut champagne.
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