I can’t believe this is week 8 of our summer cocktail series. The only good thing about 8 weeks of summer being gone is that we’ve drank some damn fine cocktails along the way, if I do say so myself. Click on the Cocktails category to catch up with the summer fun!
I am not the first person to write about these drinks. I initially read about La Floridita daiquiris (or El Floridita, depending on the source) in my most favorite cocktail book, Vintage Spirits and Forgotten Cocktails. There are also dozens upon dozens of blog posts and articles about the daiquiris, including the daiquiri Hemingway used to drink (yes, Hemingway again…). But, oddly, all that nice coverage doesn’t seem to be translating to cocktail menus.
In all the bars I’ve gone to I’ve never noticed a classic daiquiri on the menu. The closest I’ve seen are plain lime daiquiris and their fruity cousins at poolside bars, Trader Vic’s, and frozen drink dispensers on Bourbon St and in Vegas. There’s no doubt that I don’t get out to the high class joints often enough, but it seems that bars favoring classic cocktails tend to be short on rum drinks. More than that, they also tend to run away from blended drinks. (I know from personal experience that most bartenders hate blenders — at one bar I worked at all the bartenders unanimously agreed that the blender was “broken” for years.)
So, up until today, I’d never had the real deal. And guess what? It’s no wonder it’s been made into so many variations. The original daiquiris are wonderful.
Let’s refocus our collective association of the daiquiri away from the interior of Circus Circus and toward the streets of Old Havana (which I’ve never seen in person). All photos taken in 2010. Images courtesy of the Carol M. Highsmith Archive, Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division.
A few things before we get going. According to my dear cocktail book, in 1939 La Floridita wrote down the recipes for four daiquiris creatively named #1, #2, #3 and #4. All of them were served on ice — not blended. Following the four recipes there was a fifth variation called the “E. Henminway [sic] Special,” a blended version of daiquiri #3. Vintage Spirits just shares the recipe for #4, but I found a recipe for #3 that seems about right (many others used more lime or dropped the maraschino liqueur). So, let’s make #4 and then the E. Henminway Special.