Like the margarita, the daiquiri is often lumped into the category of sticky, low-end frozen cocktails. As the classic drink of Cuban origin became a sensation in the United States in the 1940s, according to Jane Danger, formerly of New York’s Cuban bar Cienfuegos, prohibition led to its downfall. “[I]It took a long time to catch up after that,” Danger told Tasting Table. “Once we did, it all became a matter of convenience. The 60s and 70s introduced the soda gun and sour mix, and drinks like tequila sunrise. Convenience has ruined a lot of drinks, like mojitos, margaritas, and more, and we’re still trying to undo the damage.”
To be clear, the original and refined version of the daiquiri belongs very, very far from a meter-long plastic drinking vessel. Traditionally served in a coupe glass, the Ernest Hemmingway-approved cocktail consists of just three ingredients: rum, lime juice and sugar. Easy, right? Well, if you ask the experts, they’ll tell you otherwise. “The hardest drinks to make are the easiest ones,” Danger said. “They really let the ingredients shine through, and it shows the strength of a good bartender to be able to balance them. If you want to test a bartender, order a daiquiri and see what you get.”
The key is balance, and while you can play with the ingredients to suit your taste, it’s hard to go wrong with a well-regarded light white rum – and make sure your limes are top quality.