David Embury's "The Fine Art of Mixing Drinks" lists the daiquiri as one of the six cocktails every barkeep should have in his repertoire. The cocktail has a few basic forms -- which include being served up like a martini and frozen like a pina colada -- as well as multiple variations dependent on the ingredients mixed into it. Rum, whether it is white, dark or spiced, makes up the cocktail's base, but most daiquiris are made with the lighter rums.
The daiquiri's origin can be traced back to a Cuban town of the same name, according to Rob Chirico in his "Field Guide to Cocktails." In 1886, two engineers, one American and one Cuban, created the daiquiri with a little sugar. Beforehand, people drank the combination of lime and rum thought to come from the British Royal Navy as sailors mixed their spirits and citrus for a tasty defense against scurvy -- by adding cane sugar, the engineers mellowed the lime juice's bite, and the daiquiri was born.
Although rum mostly evokes Caribbean imagery, the liquor is actually thought to be a variation of a primitive drink from ancient China or India. Distilled from naturally sweet substances like sugar cane and molasses, rum as a liquor has branched out into many different types, including infused rums, sipping rums, spiced, and white or light rums -- each a product of a slightly different distillation process. White rum gets its name from its coloring and its lightly sweet flavor -- white rum is also different from other rums because it is not aged in charred oak casks, thereby protecting its light coloring.
Old and New Daiquiris
The original daiquiri and many of its predecessors may be made with light rum. The first recorded daiquiri is just white rum, lime juice and sugar -- chilled shots of white rum combined with lime juice and caster or superfine sugar in a shaker tin, strained into a martini or a cocktail glass and garnished with a lime slice. For other fruity flavors, substitute some of the lime juice with another juice, such as strawberry or mango, and garnish with a complementary flavor such as a strawberry slice.
One historically important daiquiri made with white rum was preferred by Ernest Hemingway -- christened the Hemingway, this daiquiri substitutes the superfine sugar with maraschino liqueur and also adds a splash of grapefruit juice. Frozen daiquiris are as well known and routinely ordered as the classic cocktail, and most frozen daiquiris call for white rum more than any other kind. For a simple frozen daiquiri, blend equal parts white rum and lime juice with a splash of orange liqueur and a dash of sugar on ice -- for a different flavor, substitute some lime juice with another juice.