Last Call

The Hemingway Daiquiri: Frozen Isn't Always Froufrou

Ring the bell, it's time for Last Call, in which Shady's bartender JK Grence serves up booze advice and recipes. Got a burning question for your bartender? Leave it in the comments and it might be answered in a future column.

See Also: Classic, Straight-Up Daiquiri

Ask most bartenders what they think of blender drinks, and you'll almost certainly get a disdainful glare. I can't blame my cocktailian brethren for having a low opinion of frozen cocktails. Most frozen drinks just suck. Your average strawberry daiquiri is a sweet, sticky mess, with no hint of the tangy lime or light rum that you should taste. And don't get me started on Lava Flows, Miami Vices, or whatever the hell other luridly hued drinks that the unwashed masses adore. Drinks like these do have their place. That place is a cruise ship in the Caribbean. To add insult to injury, the blender's noisy roar is a siren song for many drinkers out there, leaving the bartender wondering why all these people didn't just go to Jamba Juice instead.

While most frozen drinks aren't worth the calories, there are a few that really shine. The best one is the Papa Doble, also known as the Hemingway Daiquiri. When Hemingway lived in Cuba, he spent an awful lot of time at Floridita, the birthplace of frozen Daiquiris. Thanks to Papa Hemingway's superhuman capacity (One especially memorable night, he consumed sixteen cocktails that could only be described as vase-sized), the bartender (Constantino Ribalaigua, one of the finest bartenders the world has seen) created an enjoyable Daiquiri with no sugar. To the light rum and lime from a standard Daiquiri, he added a splash of grapefruit juice and a little maraschino liqueur.

If you aren't familiar with maraschino liqueur, this is a good start. It's not related to the neon-red cherries in every bar garnish tray. They once were, but they're just distant cousins now. Maraschino liqueur (it's Italian, so the "schi" is pronounced like "ski," not "she") is an eau-de-vie made from Marasca cherries, with the pits included during distillation to give the end product a rich, nutty flavor. Its uses are few and far between (one of the only other cocktails I can remember off the top of my head is the excellent Last Word), but its distinctive flavor means there's just no substitute.

There's a bit of a split as to whether the drink these days should be frozen, or strained. I can certainly see the allure with cocktail purists to strain the drink. But, in Papa Hemingway, A.E. Hotchner's memoir of his days with Hemingway, he describes the drink as "all placed in an electric mixer over shaved ice, whirled vigorously and served foaming in large goblets." Sounds like it's going to be well blended, but with not nearly as much ice as most frozen drinks these days.

Hemingway Daiquiri If you like it a little sweeter and want to add a teaspoon or so of simple syrup, I completely understand. The Papa Doble is identical, just twice as big. For the love of all that is holy, hand someone else your car keys before starting in on Papa Dobles.

2 ounces silver rum ¾ ounce fresh lime juice ½ ounce white grapefruit juice 1 teaspoon maraschino liqueur

Blend everything together with 1 cup crushed ice. Pour into a large goblet.

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JK Grence
Contact: JK Grence