For those who don’t know this, I was a bartender for several years. I mostly worked in shot-and-beer joints and I didn’t do a lot of fancy mixing (though I’ve made my fair share of margaritas), so it’s been a real thrill to explore drinks that are thoughtfully crafted and garnishes that have style.
That brings us to the classic daiquiri. Daiquiris, despite modern interpretations as mommy-slushies, are simple and elegant. The stories that surround the creation of the daiquiri are varied and plentiful, but they all agree that this gorgeous rum cocktail was created somewhere near Daiquiri Beach in Cuba and is greater than the sum of its parts. And I was today years old when I learned that July 19 is National Daiquiri Day, so you’ll have plenty of time to have a few trial runs before the big day. 🙂
Anyway. Here’s what you need.
- 2 oz rum
- 2 oz lime juice
- 1/2 oz simple syrup* (or more to taste)
- Coupe or martini glass
Really. Three ingredients. Plus a garnish, but we’ll discuss that in a minute.
Juice your limes. You’ll probably need 1-2 of them for one cocktail. Have you ever heard that trick where you put a lime in the microwave for 10 seconds, to loosen it up so you can get the most juice out of it? And then roll it on the counter right afterwards? That really works. Do it. As for extracting the juice, forget professional electric juicers or whatever. Get one of these hand-held squeezer-juicers and get the work done. Nope, I’m not getting paid for that ad. I just thought that juicer made my life so much easier it was almost ludicrous. Moving on.
Take some ice and put it in your coupe or martini glass, then fill with water. That will chill your glass. Put some more ice in the cocktail mixer, and then add the rum, simple syrup and lime juice. Please note: My husband and I do not like sweet drinks, so we tend to go light on the syrup. Feel free to add more syrup to suit your taste. Cap the cocktail shaker and shake vigorously for at least 10 seconds, until you feel the cold creep up the side of the shaker. Toss the ice and water out of the waiting, chilling glass and down the sink, and pour your daiquiri into your now-frosty glass.
Notice that frothy white crema at the top? That’s a weak emulsion, the result of the sugars and fats and air and liquid being agitated in the shaker (and is basically the same principle behind what makes dalgona coffee happen), and it’s what you should hope to achieve with all that vigorous shaking.
Add your garnish. Mine is a dehydrated lime wheel**, but feel free to use a lime twist, or a lime wedge. Then sit back, put some salsa music on in the background, and enjoy!
*Simple syrup = a 1:1 mix of water and sugar (i.e, 1/2 cup water, 1/2 cup sugar), heated until the sugar melts. Then allow it to cool. You can even make this in the microwave. Good for about a month.
**Dehydrated lime wheel = I only made these because I was home and it was COVID summer. Heat your oven to 200°F. Slice limes in wheels about 1/4 inch thick, put on an oven-friendly cooling rack, and bake for about 2 hours, or until dry to the touch. Sit the rack on a baking sheet to make it easier to move around. Check after 1 hour and rotate the rack(s). I have a convection oven so the limes took a little less than two hours; I think mine were done in about an hour and a half. Let cool. They will last about a month to six weeks. Or maybe even longer. You can do this with any kind of citrus, so feel free to play around with blood oranges and grapefruit. Add dried flower petals and tell everyone you made your own potpourri, and now I know what everyone is getting for Christmas.