The Daiquiri is a classic rum-based cocktail and one of Cuba‘s national drinks. The short drink belongs to the large group of Sours and was named after the small Cuban mining town Daiquirí which is about 22 km from Santiago de Cuba.
The traditional cocktail is similar in structure to a typical sour, consisting of white, preferably Cuban rum as a base, freshly squeezed lime juice and cane sugar syrup. A typical mixing ratio of these ingredients is 5:3:2.
The best mix in each individual case depends, as with any sour, on the specifically used spirits brand, the sweetness of the sugar syrup, the acidity of the lime and the personal taste – Hemingway enjoyed his favorite cocktail in the variant called “Papa Doble” with twice as much rum and without sugar, because he was a diabetic.
In any case, a Daiquiri is shaken with ice in a cocktail shaker and then poured through a strainer – possibly even twice (e.g. in addition through a tea strainer) – into a chilled cocktail glass and served without ice.
There are many variations of the original Daiquiri: Frozen Daiquiris prepared with crushed ice in a blender so that they almost freeze and get a creamy sorbet-like consistency. Also very popular are daiquiris containing fruit puree or fruit syrup instead of sugar syrup, for example, Mango Daiquiri, Strawberry Daiquiri or Banana Daiquiri.
An American Invention?
Supposedly, the cocktail was invented around 1900 by an American mining engineer named Jennings Cox, who was in Cuba at the time of the Spanish–American War.
Consumption of the drink remained localized until 1909, when Rear Admiral Lucius W. Johnson tried Cox’s drink. Johnson later took the drink with him to Washington D.C. from where the Daiquiri got highly popular across the United States within a few decades. The triumphal procession of the cocktail was fueled by Prohibition in the United States between 1919 and 1933 during which many Americans would come to Cuba for the consumption of alcohol. Also Ernest Hemingway who always enjoyed his Daiquiri in the bar El Floridita in Havana was a big advocate of the drink and helped increase its popularity.