There are daiquiris, and then there’s the Hemingway Special Daiquiri. In my research, I not only wanted to find information about the drink, but also about Hemingway himself.
His introduction to daiquiris happened quite by chance. He was bar-hopping in Havana one day. Seeking a bathroom he ended up in the El Floridita Bar. Being an affable sort, he began talking to the locals. They talked him into trying one of El Floridita’s five different versions of the daiquiri. He generally liked it, but he thought it was too sweet and not strong enough. He recommended his drink be mixed without sugar and with twice the amount of rum. This version became known as the Papa Doble. Later some grapefruit juice and a bit of Maraschino liqueur were added.
A Regular Daiquiri
A Regular Daiquiri is a simple drink. Few ingredients are needed:
2 oz. of white rum
1 oz. of fresh lime juice
1-2 tsp. of simple syrup (sub with Maraschino cherry liquor), or I use 2 tsp. of powdered sugar instead for a mellower taste.
Add to a cocktail shaker, and either stir 30 revolutions or shake for 20 seconds (my favorite).
Strain into an appropriate glass that’s been chilled, and garnish with a lime wheel (optional).
Hemingway’s Special Daiquiri
The Hemingway’s Special Daiquiri (strong and tart version) is a bit more complicated:
2 oz. of white rum (for a Papa Doble make that 4 oz.)
3/4 oz. fresh lime juice
1/2 oz. fresh grapefruit juice
Add to a cocktail shaker, and either stir 30 revolutions or shake for 20 seconds (recommended).
Strain into an appropriate glass that’s been chilled, and garnish with a lime wheel (optional). You can also salt the rim if you would like.
Options: For a sweeter version, add 1 oz. Maraschino liqueur (recommended) or 2 tsp. of powdered sugar. A Maraschino cherry can also be added for a bit of a feminine touch.
While Hemingway was notoriously fond of drinking, he did not indulge when he was working. “When asked in an interview if rumors of him taking a pitcher of martinis to work every morning were true, he answered, ‘Jeezus Christ! Have you ever heard of anyone who drank while he worked? You’re thinking of Faulkner. He does sometimes – and I can tell right in the middle of a page when he’s had his first one. Besides, who in hell would mix more than one martini at a time?’”
He liked to write in the mornings. A typical working day would start about 6 a.m. and finish about noon. Sometimes he would write in bed. Most of the time he would type standing up. His typewriter would be about chest level, and he would shift his weight from one foot to the other. He would stop each writing session at the peak of his creativity. He thought this practice would carry him through into the next day and make it easier to start.
While the man is an enigma, a daiquiri is not. It’s pure and simple, and the actual proof is in the tasting.
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