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In the Spirit

Dissecting a Cocktail

The Daiquiri

By Tony Cross

It’s hard for me to pick favorites in the cocktail realm, but I would be lying through my teeth if I didn’t say that the daiquiri is near and dear to my heart. It will forever be underrated. One of the simplest, yet most complicated cocktails to master, the daiquiri is a telltale way of judging how good (or satisfactory) your bartender is.

Dating back to 1898 in Cuba, the daiquiri was created by Jennings S. Cox, a mining engineer from New York. Cox threw the drink together with Bacardi rum, lemon, sugar and ice. He first called the drink a “rum sour,” but at the suggestion of a fellow engineer, later changed it to “daiquiri,” the name of a beach near Santiago de Cuba. The daiquiri recipe that is used today was printed in Charles H. Baker’s 1939 book, The Gentleman’s Companion, and is made using white rum, lime juice and sugar.

For a classic daiquiri, you need light Cuban rum, which is impossible to get here in the U.S., so use whatever rum you prefer. With that said, a quick word on the specs: Whether you’re using light or dark rum, try to opt for something higher proof, especially if you’re using simple syrup as the sugar. Simple syrup contains water, so watering down an 80 proof rum will yield, in my opinion, lackluster results. If you only have access to a lower proof rum, use a 2:1 ratio simple syrup or use granulated sugar instead. 



2 ounces rum

3/4 ounce lime juice

1/2 ounce simple syrup (2:1) or 1 tablespoon granulated sugar

4 drops salt solution (4:1) (optional)



In a cocktail shaker, combine all ingredients, add ice, and shake until vessel is ice cold. Strain into a chilled coupe glass. No garnish is necessary. If using granulated sugar, you may shake ingredients first without ice to dilute sugar into liquids.   PS

Tony Cross owns and operates Reverie Cocktails, a cocktail delivery service that delivers kegged cocktails for businesses to pour on tap — but once a bartender, always a bartender.