There’s a solid possibility that when you think about a daiquiri, your mind immediately heads to a frozen strawberry slushy or some other ice-filled riff on the classic. And, if that’s your jam, that’s more than okay with us. We’re not here to judge. It’s frozen, refreshing, and highly flavorful when made right. But it’s just not a true daiquiri. At least not the kind of daiquiri Hemingway would have enjoyed.
The classic daiquiri is simple, citrus-driven, and (if we’re all being honest) even more perfect for summer weather than its slushie counterpart. To make a classic daiquiri, you don’t need a high-powered blender. Also, you don’t need strawberries. All you need is rum, lime juice, simple syrup, and ice to shake with. Really, that’s it. Don’t believe us?
Here’s a recipe from our own Zach Johnston proving this from a few years ago:
2-oz. white rum
1-oz. fresh lime juice
0.5-oz. sugar cane syrup
Add the rum, lime juice, and syrup to the cocktail shaker. Top up with ice and shake vigorously until the outside of the shaker is ice cold to touch (15 to 20 seconds). Strain the cocktail into the waiting, pre-chilled glass. Spritz the lime oils from the peel over the glass, rub the peel’s oils around the stem, bowl, and rim of the glass, and drop the peel into the cocktail. Serve.
While the traditional daiquiri recipe is simple, fresh, and really easy to whip up when your friends text you that they’re on the way and they’re thirsty, the best thing about the daiquiri is its versatility. You can stay true to the original recipe while adding complimentary flavors (without turning it into a cloying frozen beverage).
To prove it, we’ve compiled a list of some of the best, summery daiquiri riffs from some of our favorite bars, restaurants, and bartenders. Keep scrolling to see them all. Maybe you’re only a few clicks from your new favorite daiquiri.
The Gertrude Stein
By Shawn Miller, beverage director at Forsythia in Philadelphia
- 1 oz. Smith and Cross Navy Strength Rum
- .5 oz. bitter melon-infused white rum
- .75 oz. key lime juice
- .25 oz. Cherry Herring
- .25 oz. simple syrup
Shake all ingredients and double strain into a coupe or martini glass. Note: bitter melon can be infused by chopping and deseeding bitter melon and sitting in rum for 2 days then straining.
A play on the Hemingway Daiquiri with a more vegetal and deeply bitter flavor profile. The Cherry Herring adds a fruitier, sweeter note compared with the usual Hemingway Daiquiri addition of maraschino liqueur. — Shawn Miller, beverage director at Forsythia in Philadelphia
By Alex Barbatsis, head bartender at The Whistler in Chicago
- 2 oz. of Banks 5 Island Rum
- 0.5 oz. Lime Oleo
- Small pinch of salt
Lime Oleo Ingredients:
- Husks of six limes after juicing
- 500 ml of white sugar
Muddle lime husks and white sugar until a gooey, baby food-like mixture is produced. Let sit covered for one hour. Add 500 ml of boiled water and fully saturate all of the sugar. Let sit for 15 minutes and then strain with a coffee filter. Stir in a mixing glass with ice, strain into a chilled Nic & Nora glass
This is a cross between a daiquiri, a Ti Punch, and a classic style gimlet you might find in a steakhouse. It’s aromatic and strong with a refreshing bright note at the end. The idea behind this drink was to make something that would fit in on a classic cocktail menu or as an aromatic option at a tropical bar. — Alex Barbatsis, head bartender at The Whistler in Chicago
By Bolo in Philadelphia
- 1.5 oz. El Dorado 12 Year Rum
- .75 oz. sofrito shrub
- .75 o. z lime juice
Sofrito Shrub Ingredients:
Equal parts sofrito, champagne vinegar, and sugar, plus a pinch of salt.
Combine ingredients in a shaker over ice, shake, and strain into a coupe glass. Garnish with fresh bay leaf.
The “Don Johnny” has the basic bones of a daiquiri, but with a twist that pays homage to the cuisine of the restaurant (Bolo). The herbaceous sofrito combined with the vinegar to create the shrub leads to a very savory taste that isn’t often associated with a tropical cocktail. The nose of fresh bay leaf garnish helps complete the transportation from the bar to the kitchen. — Evan Maffiore, Bar Manager at Bolo in Philadelphia
The Danforth Daiquiri
By Devon Tarby at The Danforth in Portland, Maine
- 0.5 oz. Singani 63
- 1.25 oz. Plantation 3 Star Rum
- 1 oz. lime juice
- 0.5 oz. Creme de Peche de Vigne
- 0.25 oz. Demerara Gum
Shake ingredients over ice then strain into a coup. Garnish with a lime wedge.
The Danforth Daiquiri was built to drink very much like a traditional Daiquiri — light, crisp, and refreshing — with a subtle hint of fruit from the addition of peach liqueur. Singani 63 is a critical component of this cocktail in that it contributes a texture reminiscent of biting through fresh peach skin, while also helping to taper the candy-like notes that peach liqueur can sometimes contribute to a drink. – By Devon Tarby at The Danforth in Portland, Maine
Don’t Mind If I Dew
By Christopher Devern, lead bartender at Red Owl Tavern in Philadelphia
- 1.5 oz. Plantation 3 Star Rum
- .25 oz. Falernum
- .25 oz. Pisco
- .75 oz. honeydew syrup
- .75 oz. lemon juice
- 4 dashes of rose water
Combine all ingredients in a shaker tin and shake. Strain over ice or up if that’s your preference. Garnish with edible flowers.
This take on a daiquiri is light, refreshing, and floral as it is comprised of Plantation 3 Star Rum, a white blend from Jamaica, Barbados, and Trinidad, as well as honeydew syrup, Falernum, Pisco, rose water, and fresh lime juice. We’ve garnished it with an edible flower that lends enticing floral aromas of lavender and eucalyptus. The perfect summer daiquiri that will have you wanting to “dew” it again. — Christopher Devern, lead bartender at Red Owl Tavern in Philadelphia
By Patrick Banko, lead bartender at Stratus Rooftop Lounge in Philadelphia
- 1.5 oz. Plantation 3 Star Rum
- .75 oz. blackberry syrup
- .5 oz. lime juice
- .5 oz. Wrap and Nephew Overproof Rum
Shake all ingredients and double strain into a coupe glass. Garnish with either a blackberry or lime wheel.
This cocktail is a fun riff on the traditional daiquiri while also adding some unique and fun flavors. The blackberry gives the cocktail the perfect summertime sweetness while the Wray and Nephew really assert the fact that it is still a rum cocktail. This cocktail is perfect for those who ask for a strong drink, the traditional rum lover, or the casual summertime sipper. — Patrick Banko, Lead Bartender at Stratus Rooftop Lounge in Philadelphia
By Three Dots and a Dash in Chicago
- .25 oz. Hamilton 151 Rum
- 1 oz. Smith Cross Rum
- .25 oz. Chair Spice
- .25 oz. OFTD Rum
- 2 oz. White Gold
- .25 oz. lime juice
- 1 Fresh Banana
Build the cocktail by putting all ingredients in a blender with eight ounces of crushed ice and one whole fresh banana. Blend until smooth. Pour into glass
The Banana Daq was a signature cocktail served with a hand-carved banana dolphin garnish. It was arguably one of the first viral drinks served at Three Dots and a Dash, back in the days of Facebook –Kevin Beary, beverage director at Three Dots and a Dash and The Bamboo Room
The Hemingway Daiquiri
By at Lazia at Crossroads Hotel in Kansas City, Missouri
- 2 oz. white rum
- .5 oz. Luxardo Maraschino Liqueur
- .75 oz. lime juice
- .5 oz. grapefruit juice
- Garnish with a lime wheel
Pour all ingredients into a shaker with ice cubes. Shake well. Strain in a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with a lime wheel.
The Hemingway daiquiri is a great riff on a classic for those who prefer cocktails with minimal sweetness and a bit of a tart bite. Ernest Hemingway spent the better part of 20 years living just outside of Havana, Cuba. He became quite a staple in the country, affectionately referred to by the locals as “Papa” and remains one of the best-known figures in Cuban culture. History tells us that in the early 1930s, Hemingway stopped at El Floridita, a local bar in Havana, and ordered their standard daiquiri. After tasting it, he is quoted as saying ‘That’s good but I prefer it without sugar and double the rum’. That day, the drink was made exactly as ordered and was referred to as ‘Daiquiri Like Papa’ and later ‘Papa Doble’. Years later, the head bartender at El Floridita added maraschino liqueur and grapefruit juice to create the Hemingway daiquiri as we know it today. – Megan Anderson, general manager at Lazia in Kansas City