Daiquiris Done Right

Quick, what’s a DAIQUIRI?

Did you answer a mountain range in Cuba? Well according to the legend, in the late 1890s an American engineer came up with the now-famous rum drink while entertaining guests at his place in the aforementioned mountain range. It was a time when everyone in Cuba could really use a good stiff drink. You see, the Americans forcibly removed control of the island from Spain and tensions were running high. The war that ensued was the Spanish-American War. It’s not America’s most memorable war. Fortunately, the cocktail lasted longer than the war.

But what about that story? Could an American in Cuba really have been the first one to think of putting rum and lime together? Well, that doesn’t seem likely. Rum and lime belong together. In fact rum had been considered the ‘milk of Cuba’ long before American miners landed there. Besides, British sailors in the Caribbean were given a ration of lime to combat scurvy. I am sure more than one of them thought to mix that lime with the local liquor!

But it does seem plausible that the Daiquiri caught on in Cuba. I can buy that part of the story. Thanks to a bar called El Floridito, Havana became a Daiquiri Mecca– because legendary barman Constantino Ribalaigua elevated this simple concoction to perfection with his intuitively deft balance of sweet rum and sour lime. A simple but splendiferous combination!

His secret lies as much in technique as balance. It’s essential to squeeze the lime over the shaker. Allowing the oils in the rind to mingle with the juice. Creating an intensity of lime that cannot be matched with juice alone.

Then there’s Hemmingway. Ernest Hemmingway liked Daiquiris. In fact he was living in Cuba just to escape the banality of Prohibition. But he had a preference for a distinctly different marriage of rum and lime. It’s known today as the Papa Hemmingway Daiquiri, made cold, sour and potent.

DaiquiriClassic Daiquiri serves 1 CLICK here for a printable recipe


  • 1 lime
  • 2 oz light rum
  • 1⁄2 oz simple syrup
  • lime slices as garnish


Using your fingers squeeze about 1 oz lime juice directly into a shaker half-filled with ice cubes. Add the rum and simple syrup. Cover and shake vigorously, strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with lime slice.

Papa Hemmingway Daiquiri serves 1 CLICK here for a printable recipe 

  • 3 oz light rum
  • 1/2 oz maraschino liqueur
  • 1 1/2 oz fresh grapefruit juice
  • 3/4 oz fresh lime juice
  • lime wedge as garnish


Combine the liquid ingredients in a blender with 1/2 cup crushed ice. Blend until smooth. Pour into a chilled cocktail glass. Squeeze the lime wedge over the glass, then drop it in.


Greg Henry

Sippity Sup