Today, we raise a glass to an American engineer named Jennings Stockton Cox, the purported creator of the daiquiri cocktail. In 1898, soon after the Battle of San Juan Hill in Cuba, Americans began to lead iron ore expeditions and Cox’s team ended up in a little town named Daiquirí. As the story goes, the daiquiri was born of improvisation when Cox decided to mix up some drinks and had only rum, limes and sugar. Cox took the drink’s name from the town in which it was first made, and a now-legendary cocktail was born.
The daiquiri belongs to the sours family of drinks, a vast group whose main components are spirit, citrus and sweetener. The sour category includes everything from the margarita to the sidecar to the daiquiri. It’s one of the simplest styles of drink to make — and also one of the easiest to muck up, because there isn’t much room for error with only three ingredients.
Ernest Hemingway was famously a huge fan of the daiquiri, although his diabetic condition forced him to find a substitute for the sugar, replacing it with maraschino liqueur and grapefruit juice. (An quaffable variation and a classic in its own right.)
Sadly, in the years since the original daiquiri was invented, many bastardizations of the drink — mostly slushy and fruit-flavored — have dominated the bar scene, eclipsing the invigorating sweet-sour balance of the original. The cocktail renaissance has changed that, bringing us back to the classic.
As Allan Katz, bartender at Caña Rum Bar, explains: “The daiquiri is not a giant souvenir cup, neon-colored sugar bomb loaded with artificial nonsense. It is a short, sharp, tart, eminently refreshing glass of sophistication that requires no embellishment.” That said, here is Katz’s recipe.
Caña’s Natural Daiquiri
From: Allan Katz, Caña Rum Bar
Makes: 1 drink
2 ounces Appleton White Rum
1 ounce freshly squeezed, strained lime juice
3/4 ounce simple simple (1:1 ration turbinado sugar to water)
1. Add all the ingredients to an ice-filled mixing tin.
2. Cover and shake until chilled.
3. Strain into a coupe-style glass.
Lesley Jacobs Solmonson, LA Weekly