The Daiquiri1

Along with the Margarita, the simple Daiquiri has suffered greatly at the hands of chain restaurants and drink mixer manufacturers. I’ve had people express surprise when I mention making them, as they’ve only experienced frozen, fruit-laden monstrosities and (correctly) didn’t think that was exactly my style. But the Daiquiri deserves so much more respect that its gotten. Let’s see what we can do about that.

When made correctly, the Daiquiri is elegant in its simplicity. Rum, lime, sugar. That’s it. The flavor of a good rum, with the contrasting sour and sweet elements, makes a delicious and refreshing cocktail.

The Standard


  • 2 ounces white rum
  • 1 ounce fresh lime juice
  • 1/2 ounce simple syrup
  • Lime wedge or wheel for garnish

Combine your liquid ingredients in an ice-filled shaker and shake until cold. Double strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with the lime. Enjoy.

See? It doesn’t get much simpler than that.

That said, the classic Daiquiri recipe is also a great foundation for experimentation. But leave the frozen mixers at the supermarket; that’s not what we’re doing here. Here are some other good ideas to get you started.

The Variants

Aged Daiquiri

  • 2 ounces aged rum
  • 1 ounce fresh lime juice
  • 1/2 ounce simple syrup
  • 1 dash Angostura bitters

Combine your liquid ingredients in an ice-filled shaker and shake until cold. Double strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

This recipe substitutes aged rum for silver, giving the drink a richer taste and more complexity. The bitters round it out nicely. Here I’m using Appleton Estate 12 year Jamaican rum but any nice aged rum will work just as well. Or try combining two different rums, as you see in many tiki drinks.

Named after Ernest Hemingway, this next version of the daiquiri was created at La Floridita in Havana, Cuba and was a favorite of the author. There are a number of versions of the Hemingway, or La Floridita daiquiri, so feel free to play around and find something that suits your tastes. The defining ingredients here are the grapefruit juice and maraschino.

Hemingway Daiquiri

  • 1 1/2 ounces silver rum
  • 3/4 ounce maraschino liqueur
  • 3/4 ounce fresh lime juice
  • 1/2 ounce grapefruit juice
  • 1/4 ounce simple syrup (optional)

As above, combine everything in an ice-filled shaker and shake until cold. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

The simple syrup in this variant is not usually necessary if you’re using a sweeter ruby red grapefruit. But if you’re not, you may find it a bit tart and the scant 1/4 ounce of simple syrup will round things out for you.

I posted another version of this drink a few years ago, as the La Floridita Daiquiri.

Rum Club, Portland’s newest cocktail bar, has a signature Daiquiri on their menu. This recipe is for their Rum Club Daiquiri, which can be seen on the right in the above photo.

Rum Club Daiquiri

  • 2 ounces Bacardi 8
  • 3/4 ounces fresh lime juice
  • 1/2 ounces 2:1 demerara syrup
  • 1/4 ounces maraschino liqueur
  • 5-6 drops absinthe
  • 1 dash Angostura bitters

Same mixing directions as the others. Shake with ice, double strain into a cocktail glass.

Like the La Floridita or Hemingway daiquiri, this recipe adds a bit of maraschino as well as just a touch of absinthe. The simple syrup here also differs from the other recipes in that it uses demerara sugar rather than white (demerara sugar is also known as turbinado or raw sugar). Where regular simple syrup is 1:1 sugar and water, this is a “rich” syrup using two parts sugar to one part water.

No fruit flavors?

I opened this article with a comment about “frozen, fruit-laden monstrosities” but I would be remiss if I didn’t at least touch on that aspect of the Daiquiri world. Setting aside the issue of frozen drinks, how does a thoughtful party host or bar manager accommodate those who are used to and prefer this type of thing?

While most people who care about properly-made daiquiris would simply not cater to this particular preference, I think there’s a better way. Why not simultaneously give your guests something they will like and also provide a gentle introduction into more well made cocktails?

Strawberry Daiquiri

  • 1 ounce silver rum
  • 1 ounce Cruzan Strawberry Rum
  • 1 ounce fresh lime juice
  • 1/4 ounce simple syrup

Same instructions as the rest: Combine with ice, shake, strain into a cocktail glass. For extra fruitiness, garnish with a strawberry.

The fine folks at Cruzan sent me a sample bottle of their new strawberry rum, which inspired the inclusion of a fruit daiquiri in this roundup. Made with a combination of their usual silver rum and a strawberry liqueur, this rum comes in at only 42 proof but offers a clean strawberry flavor. It’s also very sweet; much to sweet to simply use in place of a silver rum. While I’m not usually into fruit-flavored spirits, Cruzan does make some good rum so I was hopeful. As it turns out, I’m not disappointed in this latest addition to their line.

For this recipe I found 50/50 silver rum and flavored to provide a good balance. I also reduced the simple syrup from 1/2 to 1/4 ounce due to the extra sweetness the flavored rum brings. The end result features the tartness that a good Daiquiri should have while also having a distinct, but not overpowering, strawberry flavor. It’s not my usual sort of drink but it’s quite good in spite of that, and will certainly be good for situations like the one I described above1. Cruzan has a number of other flavors in their lineup so you’ve got room for creativity here as well.


I hope this gives you some ideas for the next time you want to mix up something simple, classic, and refreshing but with a creative twist. The beauty of simple foundations is that you can build upon them endlessly.

If you’d like to experiment with your rums as well, RumDood’s article, Rum 101: How To Get Started With Rum has everything you need to get your selection going.

1. I call that the “Nathan Test”, named after a friend of mine whose tastes tend sharply toward vodka and sweet.

Comments 1 Comment So Far

Damon @ Let's Tiki |

It is sad how this delicious, and simple cocktail has gotten such a bad name over the years. A few weeks ago I was at a local restaurant, and they had the classic daiquiri on their menu. I was really excited! So I ordered it, and out came this blended monstrosity. It was terrible. Even when a place has it on their menu they still get it wrong.