John F. Kennedy and Ernest Hemingway both had a thing for daiquiris, and Hemingway was known to drink a dozen at a time—sometimes by the double. We get it: The simple mix of rum, lime and sugar, shaken vigorously before pouring, is hard to pass up.
Although the classic drink, originally served over ice, was reportedly created by an American engineer named Jennings Cox circa 1900, it has Cuban ties thanks to the original recipe, which called for Cuban-aged Carta Blanca Rum. The drink gets its name from a beach in Santiago, Cuba.
The daiquiri first reached America in 1909 at the Army & Navy Club in Washington, D.C.. and since then it's been unstoppable. But lately bartenders have been reinveinting the old familiar cocktail in totally irresistible new ways. Here are five we love right now, plus a recipe.
Brown Bag Daiquiri
Where: Balise, New Orleans
What: Mezcal, blanc vermouth, lime, lemon, malt honey syrup, grapefruit bitters.
How: The daiquiri riff at this New Orleans bistro is served in a coupe wrapped in a piece of brown paper bag—although there’s no hiding that the smoky, smooth mix is ultra-refreshing. Photo by Sharon Pye.
Where: Dante, New York
What: Panama aged and filtered rum, white and aged agricole rhum, pressed lime, salted lime cordial, lime curd, yuzu vinegar.
How: “When a daiquiri is shaken like it should be, it is a bright and refreshing aperitif. This version is on steroids with citrus in various guises. Hence the name Daiquiri +," beverage director Naren Young tells The Feast. Photo credit Steven Freihon.
Where: StripSteak, Miami
What: Gin, grapefruit and lime juices, honey, pineapple crème.
How: James Beard Award-winning chef Michael Mina's contemporary steakhouse freshens up the classic daiquiri, offering an inventive gin twist that’s garnished with a sprig of mint and a cherry. Photo courtesy of StripSteak.
Where: Bit House Saloon, Portland, OR
What: Rhum-based liqueur, apricot juice, jasmine, lemon juice.
How: This two-drinks-in-one cocktail starts out as a daiquiri and dissolves into a batida via a melting coconut ice cream cube that mimics the fruity flavors of the Brazilian cocktail. Photo courtesy of Bit House Saloon.
Where: Hatchet Hall & Old Man Bar, Los Angeles
What: Fernet Jelinek, Fernet Branca, lime juice, demerara syrup.
How: In this posh, Fernet-spiked daiquiri spin, “we use both Jelinek and Branca to lighten up the abrasiveness of Branca on its own. The Jelinek is slightly sweeter," bar manager Matthew Bone tells The Feast. The combination of the two Italian amaros makes for a sophisticated cocktail that's "a little more rounded, and slightly more approachable for guests that aren’t ardent amari drinkers." Photo courtesy of Hatchet Hall & Old Man Bar.
Fernet Daiquiri recipe:
1 oz Fernet Jelinek
1 oz Fernet Branca
.75 oz Lime juice
.5 oz Demerara syrup
Build in a cocktail shaker, and shake vigorously. Double strain the mix into a coupe and garnish with a lime wedge.
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