Plenty of cocktails went through a period, sometime between the late 1960s and through the 1980s, when they were, for lack of a better term, bitch-slapped. Dressed up in girl’s clothing, doused in sugar, and beaten senseless by every type of blender and slushy machine imaginable. The Margarita and the Brandy Alexander are perfect examples of this.
But no drink that I can think of has suffered more humiliation at the hands of disreputable bartenders than the Daiquiri. Here’s a drink that is so closely associated with Ernest Hemingway, the ultimate man’s man, yet no self-respecting man these days would ever deign to order one in a bar. Why the massive disconnect, and who’s to blame?
Sweet drinks likely became popular in the late 60s due to a growing drug culture that kept young people out of the bars and in living rooms and dens across the country, in a generational quest for free love and mind expansion. The cocktail answer to this was to lure people back to the bars with drinks that would appeal to youth: Sex on the Beach, the Orgasm, and old favorites like our Daiquiri tarted up with raspberries and whipped cream.
Far from current popular opinion, the original Daiquiri is indeed a man’s drink – when made correctly. My favorite version out there comes from our friend Simon Difford, London writer and bartender, who understands this variation on a strong rum sour better than anyone I’ve ever met. I dare you to try one at home, and go ahead and try to tell me that Hemingway wouldn’t be proud.
2 1/2 oz rum (white rum is proper here, though I love to experiment with aged rums as well)
3/4 oz fresh lime juice
1/2 oz 2:1 simple syrup, made by slowly heating two parts sugar to one part water in a small saucepan on the stove, until the sugar is dissolved.
Combine all ingredients in a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake until ingredients are combined and well chilled. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass and garnish with a slice of lime.