Sira-sira store: Daiquiri dossier

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Friday, July 18, 2014

DAIQUIRI: more or less say, dakeri (sorry, we can’t invert the letter “e”).

What it is: It is a family of cocktails that has distinguished itself as one of the finest. The daiquirí is one of the six basic drinks listed in David A. Embury’s classic The Fine Art of Mixing Drinks. The basic ingredients are rum, citrus (usually lime juice) and sugar or other sweetener.

Variations: Daiquirí Floridita (with maraschino liqueur; created by Constantino Ribalaigua Vert at El Floridita); Hemingway Daiquirí or Papa Doble (two and a half jiggers of white rum, juice of two limes and half a grapefruit, six drops of maraschino liqueur, without sugar, served frozen); Banana Daiquiri (regular daiquirí with a half a banana); Strawberry Daiquirí (regular with strawberry added); and Frozen Daiquiri. These can be premixed as in commercially made drinks or homemade. There are two variations of the frozen daiquirí: Old Rose Daiquirí (strawberry syrup, rum, two teaspoons of sugar and lime juice) and Daiquirí Mulata (rum and coffee liqueur).


What’s in a name? Writer Wayne Curtis wrote in about “Behind the drink: The Hemingway Daiquiri.” Hemingway is Ernest, the journalist turned novelist, who won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1954.

Curtis recounts the story about how novelist Ernest Hemingway needed a bathroom. This was in the 1930s. He had stopped into Havana’s El Floridita bar and saw the bartender preparing daiquiris. Hemingway, who is noted for his love for the bottle, asked for one. But he wanted his with double rum and no sugar, and a name was born.

“Those are the facts,” writes drink historian Ted Haigh in Vintage Spirits and Forgotten Cocktails, “and from there the story goes straight to hell.”

Since the author of A Farewell to Arms was also known as Papa Hemingway, the drink may have been also baptized as Papa Doble, or maybe the Hemingway Special or El Floridita No. 4, Curtis contends.

As with all great drinks with obscure history, cocktail detectives, who have been poring over the clues ever since Hemingway made that trip down the bathroom, have never really stopped “pouring over” the mystery (into their mouths).

According to, daiquiri was invented by Jennings Cox, an American mining engineer during his tenure in Cuba. However, the story retold by Curtis suits more the plot Hemingway would have wanted the drink to have.

The cocktail rightfully has its own holiday, proving its popularity around the world or at least in America. July 19 is known as National Daiquiri Day, just two days before Hemingway’s birthday.

Although I suspect the Philippines is not a daiquiri fan, there is still a way to forget your troubles for one day by celebrating this drink, one of which is named after a celebrated author.

One suggestion is to spend the day at the beach though you might wail: “Who wants to go to the beach after typhoon Glenda?”

Anyway, the suggestion doggedly continues: Celebrate the day with friends, maybe at the beach, or pool. Mix one pitcher of daiquiri—that’s the limit. Remember, you are only commemorating a day, not intoxicating yourself.

Play some music, have good conversation and think of the ways you can make others happy after July 19, because you may be right; this is not the right time to raise the roof with jubilation when one part of the country is hurting. So pack up the daiquiri stuff and do the fun some other time. Yes? Let’s figuratively drink to that.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on July 19, 2014.


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