When you visit Cuba, you quickly realize one thing. It’s HOT..and I don’t mean it’s just a hot, summery day either. I visited in January and temperatures were soaring well into the 90s (30s Celsius). The sweltering heat combined with the intense humidity of the island can make it feel as though you are walking through a nonstop sauna. Most of us are not accustomed to this type of heat so you can expect to sweat like you’ve never sweat in your life.
The best way to stay cool is to wear loose-fitting clothing and as little of it as decently possible. Then you better get yourself a cold drink. One of my favorite Cuban cocktails is the daiquiri. That’s right, the daiquiri was invented in Cuba and consists of three basic ingredients; rum, lemon juice, and sugar. You also add in a little Maraschino liqueur. This is the perfect combination to keep you cool in the hot summer sun…by a beach perhaps.
Cuban Daiquiri History
The Cuban daiquiri is pretty ubiquitous the world over and we owe its existence to a man named Jennings Cox, an iron miner in US-occupied Cuba. The story goes that while partying it up with his friends one night, he ran out of gin. So he went out and bought the cheapest liquor he could fine which was rum. He added lemons, sugar, water, and ice to the rum to make a punch for his guests. The loved it and wanted to know what it was called. So he simply named it after the nearby beach and called it daiquiri.
And boom, a legend was born!
Cuba’s contribution to bar culture later would have an influence on the literary world too. It’s not well-known but F. Scott Fitzgerald seems to have had an affinity for the cocktail and he included it in one his first novels; it’s briefly mentioned in This Side of Paradise, written in 1920. It’s actually the first time the cocktail was mentioned in any literature. Of course, the author most associated with the Cuban daiquiri is Ernest Hemingway. His love of the cocktail actually contributed to its popularity and he even created his own variation. The Hemingway Daiquiri, or Papa Doble, was created at El Floridita in Havana and replaced the sugar with grapefruit juice and Maraschino liqueur. It also includes a healthy double portion of rum in the cocktail.
- 2 oz white rum
- 1 oz lime/lemon juice
- 1 tbs white sugar or 1/2 oz simple syrup
- 1/4 oz Maraschino liqueur
- 9-10 ice cubes
- Pour all ingredients except for ice into a shaker. Shake to combine.
- Poor combined ingredients into a blender. Add ice. Blend for approximately 30 seconds or until it reaches the consistency of a Frappe. The cocktail should have a snow-like consistency.
- Serve in a cocktail glass.
- You can adjust lime/lemon juice, rum, Maraschino liqueur, and sugar to taste.
To learn more about traveling in Cuba:
Give this Cuban daiquiri recipe a try and tell me what you think in the comments!
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