On hot summer days, we have to thank Cuban bartenders for creating such thirst quenching cocktails, like the Mojito and the classic Daiquiri. Both of these are lightly sweetened, rum-based drinks that incorporate lime and sometimes other fruit flavours. The key to these drinks is that they are not sickly sweet, well, at least, they shouldn’t be. Unfortunately, the classic lime Daiquiri is hard to find outside of good bars and many times if you order just a “Daiquiri” you will get a bright red, horribly sweet, artificially flavoured, strawberry slushy. This is because most bartenders assume that the strawberry version is most popular and nobody ever taught them otherwise.
The are some abominations that masquerade themselves as a Daiquiri, usually in the red, slushy form. In some cases, you’ll even get a blob of whipped cream on top. What the hell is that all about! Cream does not belong in a Daiquiri, no matter what fruit flavour it is, so if you are a bartender who adds cream, stop it!
The classic Daiquiri (lime) has been supplanted by the strawberry version, which is the “de facto” cocktail you get when you order a Daiquiri at a bar. In Cuba, they call it a Fresca Daiquiri.
The Daiquiri is a little one dimensional and does benefit from the addition of a complimentary flavour, like strawberry. I’m not going to fight “classic” vs. “modern”, there are more important battles to wage, like how to make a Strawberry Daiquiri properly. Here’s a hint, you don’t need a blender, nor a bottle of artificial strawberry syrup. The classic Daiquiri is a simple cocktail made with white rum, lime, sugar, so to make a strawberry version just add about six small strawberries.Fine straining is imperative for this drink. I don’t stir the daiquiri with ice because I want to pulverize as much of the strawberry as possible to extract all of the flavours. But after you’ve done that you need to strain out the pulp. Plus, the drink is going to be slightly cloudy, so if you give it a good shake, it will take on a lovely red colour.
Most bars that make a daiquiri do it with a sugar rim, which nullifies the use of simple syrup in the cocktail. But I’ve found that the modern palate isn’t as accepting of the strong sour flavour, so I always include a dash of simple syrup to make it more palatable. I also rim the glass with sugar for aesthetics.
The Strawberry Daiquiri doesn’t have to be the abomination that many bars have made it. It can be a well balanced, refreshing, cocktail that will make other people in the bar ask “what’s that?”
Now that we know how to make a Strawberry Daiquiri, here’s how you make a classic Daiquiri, which is an excellent summer drink.
Classic Daiquiri Recipe
2 oz White Rum
½ oz Lime Juice
¼ oz Simple Syrup
Instructions: Combine all ingredients in a shaker with ice, shake vigorously and strain into a cocktail glass.