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It's Time to Take Back the Daiquiri

When made with a high quality white rum, the daiquiri is cocktail perfection in its purest form.
07/16/2015 04:23pm ET | Updated December 6, 2017
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The daiquiri is one of my favorite cocktails of all time. It's up there with an Old Fashioned and Manhattan. Many people are surprised when they hear that, which is understandable. Because most so-called "daiquiris" are neon colored goop that come from a slushy machine. But the original daiquiri is the exactly the opposite and couldn't be simpler: white rum, fresh lime juice and sugar, shaken with ice and served in a chilled cocktail glass. No blender, no strawberries, no tiny umbrella. When made with a high quality white rum (recommendations below) the daiquiri is cocktail perfection in its purest form.

The Classic Daiquiri
  • 2 oz white rum
  • ¾ oz fresh lime juice
  • ¾ oz simple syrup (combine equal parts sugar and hot water, stir to dissolve)
Method
  1. Combine all ingredients in a shaker.
  2. Fill with ice.
  3. Shake (hard!) and strain into a chilled coupe, martini or cocktail glass.
White Rum Recommendations
  • Flor de Caña 4
  • El Dorado 3
  • Caña Brava
  • Bacardi Heritage (note the difference from Silver)
  • Banks 5 Island
  • Plantation 3 Star
  • Cruzan Aged Light Rum
  • Don Q

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Variations
Don't worry, this doesn't mean you can't have strawberry daiquiris anymore. On the contrary, the daiquiri is very adaptable to all kinds of fruits and herbs, so long as they're fresh, and not from a can. The method is simple: just muddle whatever you want to add into the drink. The base recipe stays more or less the same. Here are a few examples that are big time crowd-pleasers:

Mojito
The ever popular mojito is actually just a daiquiri with muddled mint, served it in a tall glass over ice with a splash of soda water. That's it!

Strawberry Daiquiri
Everyone's favorite. Like the mojito, take the above recipe, muddle one strawberry with the simple syrup, add the remaining ingredients and proceed from there.

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Pineapple Daiquiri
Same recipe, muddle in 3 or 4 pineapple chunks, or add ¾ oz pineapple juice, preferably fresh, not from a can.

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Watermelon Daiquiri
Yep, you can do that too! This one is slightly more involved, but so worth it. You need to make watermelon syrup to do it right, which is easy. You also need to tweak the proportions. Increase the simple syrup amount to 1¼ oz and reduce the lime to ½ oz.

Watermelon Syrup
  • 1 cup watermelon juice
  • 1/2 cup sugar
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Method
  1. To make watermelon juice, muddle a few chunks of watermelon until it's a soupy pulp and strain out the solids. Or use a juicer if you have one.
  2. Stir together the watermelon juice and sugar until dissolved, don't add any heat. Refrigerate.

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So do yourself a favor this summer, pick up a nice bottle of white rum - they run very cheap - and give the true daiquiri, or one of it's relatives, another chance. You won't be sorry.

Cheers, and happy mixing!