One of Cuba’s greatest cocktails, the classic Daiquiri is simple to make yet difficult to balance. It was supposedly invented by American engineer Jennings Stockton Cox, while working in Cuba, near the town of Daiquiri in the early 1900s, but as with most classics, there are several accounts of how the island’s local white rum, Bacardi, came to meet lime and sugar.
While Cox may have originally been the hero of the Daiquiri it would soon find a far more famous fan in Ernest Hemingway who would go on to champion it throughout his life. But while the classic mix of rum, lime and sugar - chilled to the point that it is bracingly cold and easy to slug down - is undoubtly delicious, some of these inventive twists certainly give it a run for its money. Order them today and see why.
Rum, lime, grapefruit, maraschino and sugar
Ernest Hemingway walks into a Cuban bar and orders the house Daiquiri, which in El Floridita happened to be a classic lime, sugar and rum conncoction blended with ice. "That's good," he says, "but I prefer it without the sugar and twice the rum." Thus the Hemingway Special was born. A few years later the genius Antonio Meilan, then head bartender, added grapefruit juice and maraschino liqueur to boost the flavour and add some much needed sweetness.Today if Ernest Hemingway ordered his namesake drink he'd find, probably much to his horror, it's also served with 10ml of sugar syrup to properly balance out those tart citrus juices. Perhaps not welcomed by his hardened palate, it certainly is by ours. This beautiful drink has complexity by the bucket loads but retains that sharp freshness adored by any Daiquiri drinker.
Rum, lime, Campari and passionfruit liqueur
A dash of pash solves everything - at least according to London bartender Kevin Armstrong. It's a theme you'll notice across many of his drinks. But this playful 5ml of passionfruit in the Dry Daiquiri is a perfect compliment to the drink's other unusual ingredient, Campari. Those astringent bitter notes from the shockingly red and herbacous liqueur change the Daiquiri from a cocktail you can knock back with ease into something you need to court and work a little bit harder for. But before it tipples over the brink of unattainable, that dash of pash just pulls it back.
Overproof rum, Green Chartreuse, lime and falernum
Go big. Go nuclear. This is one Daiquiri twist you don't want to be ordering round after round but when you need a big smack of flavours and booze to hit you in the face and race down your throat there simply is no other drink. Mixing lime juice, falernum, Green Chartreuse (at 55%) and the overproof rum Wray & Nephew (at 65%) it doesn't taste as lethal as you'd expect, instead offering a harmouneous balance between the sweet syrup, the clean citrus and the herbal chartreuse to round out the knock-your-socks-off rum. But don't let a good tasting cocktail fool you, this is still as lethal as they come.
Fresh Fruit Daiquiris
Rum, lime, sugar, fresh fruit and fruit liqueurs
Don't let your mates laugh or turn their noses up at an order of a strawberry or banana Daiquiri. They taste great and we all know it. Unfairly thought of as a disco-style drink, fresh fruit Daiquiris, when properly made, can be a balanced and refreshing cocktail - so long as there's fresh fruit rather than purees and a mean blender (or have it shaken and strained). In fact having a blended drink means you need more natural sugars to carry the flavour over the dilution, so really your blended strawberry Daiquiri is a much better drink order than your friends classic lime one. Or at least that's what we tell ourselves...
Rum, lemon, quince liqueur, Kamm & Sons and sugar
A modern invention by Happiness Forget's bartender Dan Garnell, you could call this an English Daiquiri. Using a quince liqueure based on classic English cooking apples, Kamm & Sons British apertif, Havana 3 year old rum, lemon juice and sugar, it's a Daiquiri with a sharp orchard fruit flavour. Refreshing, herbal, complex and still in keeping with the ease of the classic Daiquiri, if you're ever in Hoxton Square you know what to order.
Dark rum, dark crème de cacao, lime and sugar
While this drink has a name that is now considered offensive, and is therefore in need of a rebrand, it is a wonderfully deeper and aromatic twist on the classic. Mixing sugar, lime juice, dark crème de cacao and aged rum, the drink has a long history dating back to the 1940s. There's plenty of coffee and chocolate flavours which marry surprisingly well with the fresh lime, leaving us with a drink that deserves to be ordered and enjoyed... once we all come up with a new name.
Rum, lime, mint, sugar and soda water
Grab a classic Daquiri and pour it over ice, stir in some mint and top it all off with soda and you'll find yourself with a perfectly acceptable Mojito. Sure it bypassed all the muddling action but for a quick fix Mojito it'll certainly do. Yes, Cuba's two classic cocktails are almost identical once you strip back the Mojito and leave the Daiquiri just as it is. So if you're feeling like a longer version, well you've probably already had one. Certainly every City banker and their secretary has.
Rum, triple sec, lime, sugar and a lemon zest
Leave it to Tony Conigliaro to knock a Daiquiri twist right out of the park. The Oh Gosh is one of his older drinks invented when a regular at Dick's Bar, who always ordered Daiquiris, uttered the dreaded words 'can you make me something slightly different today?' And surely there's no better bartender to be sat in front of when asking this. Tony decided to take out one shot of rum from the usual Daiquiri recipe and replace it with triple sec, an orange liqueur, finally garnishing the drink with a lemon twist. The end result? A Daiquiri with three levels of citrus, from the deep orange, tangy lime and light, zesty, lemon finish. And the name - well what do you think that regular said upon his first sip?
Southside / Eastside
Gin, lime, mint, sugar and cucumber
If you love the idea of Daiquiri - and what Ernest Hemingway fan wouldn't - but aren't partial to rum the allow us to introduce you to a Southside, combining gin, mint, lime and sugar. It's bascially a gin Daiquiri meating a gin Mojito and having a playful splash about in a coupette. Like your G&T with cucumber? Order an Eastside, which is a Southside with the edtion of some cucumber. Not exactly original, but full marks for flavour.