Back in the late 1980s I used to throw a “Dacqueri” party at my house every summer when my parents were out of town. I don’t know what’s worse: the fact that I misspelled the word daiquiri on party invitations, or that my daiquiris — being too-sweet and neon-coloured and slushy — were, in fact, poor shadows of Cuba’s classic cocktail.
And don’t get me started on the misplaced apostrophe! (But I love this invite and the fact that I drew my dad serving beer from a keg.)
Of course, my high school pals drank my “dacqueri’s” anyway and didn’t seem to care that they were abominations. I blame it on the 80s. And my poncho from Mexico. And also those frozen Bacardi mixer canisters you could buy at Safeway (just add rum!).
Contents of the yellow cup? Neon-pink strawberry “dacqueri”. (Please excuse the photo resolution — it’s what happens when you take a photo of an old Kodak print with your iPhone.)
The good news is I finally have a chance to redeem myself a quarter century later through the written word. I’m writing about real daiquiris for an upcoming issue of up! magazine, and it’s given me a grand excuse to learn about the tropical tipple and try my hand at making this simple sip.
And simple, it is. Lime juice, granulated sugar (or simple syrup) and aged white rum. Since I love sours I took the liberty of adding egg white to help bind the ingredients and smooth out the flavours. Not only is the resulting daiquiri sour perfectly balanced between strong, sweet and sour, it looks much better served in a martini glass.
In my opinion, adding egg white to the classic daiquiri smooths out its edges and helps the flavours co-mingle.
Classic Daiquiri Sour
- 2 oz Havana Club 3-Year-old white rum
- 3/4 oz fresh lime juice
- 1/2 oz simple syrup
- 1/2 oz egg white
Method: Combine ingredients in a cocktail shaker with two ice cubes and shake until ice has dissolved and shaker feels heavy. Pout contents into a coupe glass or martini glass.
I haven’t written about rum cocktails for awhile, so it was fortuitous that I received samples of a trio of Brugal rums from the Dominican Republic: the Brugal 1888, a sipper; Brugal Anejo, a dark rum; and Brugal Extra Dry, a light rum perfect for summer cocktails like the mojito or daiquiri. Brugal’s angle with the light rum is that it’s “extra dry.” How does this translates with taste? It’s light and crisp and not too sweet. And it mixes well with lemon juice and honey syrup to create the rummy Bees Knees.
This twist on a Bees Knees cocktail features smooth rum and bitters for extra spice.
Yes, it’s true that Bees Knees is a wedding season cocktail traditionally made with gin, but I think it works really well with rum. The honey syrup is naturally sweet, the perfect foil to the dry rum and tart lemon juice. I also love the addition of Angostura bitters — they add a spicy kick reminiscent of a rum punch but in a much lighter, more summery cocktail.
- 2 oz Brugal Extra Dry Rum
- 3/4 oz fresh lemon juice
- 3/4 oz honey syrup (1:1 ratio honey to water)
- 3 dashes Angostura bitters
Method: Shake all ingredients with ice and strain into a chilled coupe (I used a martini glass).
— Recipe courtesy Brugal Rum
It’s true the Negroni is an acquired taste. At first sip many react with bitter beer face; that is to say, they scrunch up their noses and pucker their lips and wonder what exactly they’re supposed to love about a drink with equal parts gin, vermouth and Campari (an orange-flavoured, bitter Italian aperitif). Let the ice melt a bit and have another sip. You may not be won over immediately, but the longer you entertain its bittersweet taste, the more you will like it. Trust me on this.
Try one of Cilantro’s six twists on the Negroni during Negroni Week, on through June 8. Image courtesy Cilantro, a Canadian Rocky Mountain Resorts restaurant.
Whether or not you like them, you’re kind of obligated to try one this weekend because it’s Negroni Week through June 8. If traditional Negronis aren’t your thing, head over to Cilantro and check our their Negroni menu. Bartender Dominik Aschauer has created six twists on the classic drink. There’s his award-winning Cynar Flip, with Cynar Bitter, cardamom tonic and a rich egg custard, or sip on the Di Dieri, a champagne cocktail with hints of Campari and vermouth. Even the almost-classic Count Negroni (see recipe) strays from the traditional concoction with the addition of a single juniper berry and a dash of orange bitters. In the words of the menu, “Classic cocktails are so 2009.”
As part of Negroni Week, Cilantro is donating $1 to the Mustard Seed for every Negroni sold. If you still can’t get your head around the Negroni and its bitter brethren, suck it up and swallow it down. It’s for a good cause!
- 1 oz New Deal Gin
- 1 oz Carpano Antica Vermouth
- 1 oz Campari Bitter
- 1 Juniper Berry
- Bitter Truth Orange Bitters
Method: Crack juniper berry into a mixing glass. Add other ingredients with ice into mixing glass and stir until chilled (approximately 30 seconds). Strain into rocks glass with large ice cube. Garnish with a flamed orange peel over the cocktail, rim glass and toss in orange peel.
— Recipe courtesy Cilantro