Sunday, January 28, 2007

The Daiquiri Crusade

I have a long standing crusade (jihad) to restore the Daiquiri to is rightful place as the most sublime cocktail, especially suited to warm sub-tropical evenings..

According to Wikipedia
The name Daiquiri is also the name of a beach near Santiago, Cuba, and an iron mine in that area. The cocktail was invented about 1905 in a bar named Venus in Santiago, about 23 miles east of the mine, by a group of American mining engineers. Among the engineers present were Jennings Cox, General Manager of the Spanish American Iron Co., J. Francis Linthicum, C. Manning Combs, George W. Pfeiffer, De Berneire Whitaker, C. Merritt Holmes and Proctor O. Persing.

The Daiquiri was one of the favorite drinks of the writer Ernest Hemingway.
Originally the drink was served in a tall glass packed with cracked ice. A teaspoon of sugar was poured over the ice and the juice of one or two limes was squeezed over the sugar. Two or three ounces of rum completed the mixture. The glass was then frosted by stirring with a long-handled spoon. Later the Daiquiri evolved to be mixed in a shaker with the same ingredients but with shaved ice. After a thorough shaking, it was poured into a chilled flute glass. An article in the March 14, 1937 edition of the Miami Herald as well as private correspondence of J.F. Linthicum confirm the recipe and early history.
It's sometimes amusing , sometimes frustrating and occasionally maddening to attempt to order this classic cocktail, even in gourmet restaurants and elegant bars. I have been told,
  • We don't have a blender.
  • We don't have and strawberries.
  • We don't make frozen drinks.
  • Our bartender doesn't know how to make one.
To the first three I usually reply "Good". To the last I offer to show them how to make one.

I'm not sure where and when the slide started but it was almost certainly when someone decided to add strawberries in a blender with rum. Creating the Strawberry Daiquiri . Perhaps the Banana Daiquiri was first, I don't know, The Mountain Top bar in St. Thomas claims to have invented that variation. I can find no one who admits to inventing the strawberry version. The addition of sweet fruit destroyed the sublime flavor balance of a well made Daiquiri.

New Orleans has contributed mightily to the debasement of the Daiquiri with the drive through Daiquiri Stand. The adaptation of the Slurpee machine to make gallons of frozen, alcoholic sludge and calling it a Daiquiri is certainly the low point.

I've been trying almost single handed to turn that around. I'm not doing very well.

6 comments:

Sophmom said...

Nothing like a noble cause! ;D

Adrastos said...

A truly noble cause, my friend. I wish you well. In fact, I'll drink to it...

celcus said...

I'll join the crusade. But can we can add a second plank that: the fact that a drink is served up and in a cocktail glass does not make it a “Martini”.

Anything, with the exception of gin (and possibly vodka) and white vermouth with a garnish of lemon peel, olive and the like (except pickled onions) is not a martini, it is a cocktail. In such case it either has, or needs to find it’s own name, and tacking "martini" after one of the ingredients is not acceptable.

mominem said...

A Daiquiri is most definitely not a Martini.

Anonymous said...

I would like to add one version that I think wold be in keeping with the origina. "use dark rum" I love the classic simple daiquiri with dark rum not flavored just dark

Editor B said...

Righteous. I also will join this crusade. The art of mixology is a matter dear to my heart.