"First you take a drink, then the drink takes a drink, then the drink takes you."
As we’ve been researching old drinks, a theme has emerged from cocktail to cocktail: they used to be good, and now they’re not. Take the oldest cocktail in existence, the Old Fashioned. It should be a mixture of good whiskey, sugar, bitters, and a little citrus. Order it in a bar and what do you get? Something full of muddled maraschino cherries and seltzer water.
Perhaps no cocktail has fallen further than the daiquiri. Today it’s known as an alcoholic slushie, but it was originally a bracing drink of rum, sugar, and lime juice—the inevitable result of three ingredients in close geographic proximity. These days, it’s packed with strawberries and mangoes. What gives?
Ernest Hemingway spent his share of time marinating in Cuba. It’s likely you’ve heard of his prodigious thirst. The daiquiri was his drink, and it was mixed his way. Legend has it that he ambled into Havana’s La Floridita, discovered a tray of foaming daiquiris and after swiping one, declared: “Another of these, no sugar, and double the rum.” The man had a staunch palate.
The classic “Papa Doble” incorporates rum, grapefruit juice, lime juice, and maraschino liqueur in place of the sugar. We found, however, that just an extra dash of sweet makes for a more satisfied audience. On a mild August evening, our guests found their way to an unmarked red door in Chicago’s West Loop neighborhood. Once inside, they discovered our host’s immaculate loft space—complete with exposed brick and industrial fixtures—and made their way up a spiral staircase to find our rooftop bar.
We gathered with frothing drinks in hand and listened while our friend Max Wastler read aloud from a Wall Street Journal article on the potion: “Hemingway himself described a properly beaten Daiquiri as looking ‘like the sea where the wave falls away from the bow of a ship when she is doing thirty knots.’”
Photo by Max Wastler, allplaidout.com.
Friday, 10 August, 2012, 7:30 p.m.
The Overserved Society’s Hemingway Daiquiri:
1.5 oz light rum (we used Flor de Caña)
0.75 oz lime juice
0.75 oz grapefruit juice
0.5 oz Luxardo maraschino liqueur
0.5 oz simple syrup
Combine all ingredients in the shaker, heap on the ice, and shake until the tin is frosty. Strain and serve.