This History of the Daiquiri: War, White Rum and a Ship's Doctor

By Logan R. Brouse, May 6, 2020

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201703/logan.pngLogan R. Brouse, proprietor and mixologist of Logan’s Punch and Tacolicious, has run bars and clubs in Shanghai for over ten years. In between hangovers, he puts pen to paper in his column for That’s to record his pontifications on the drink industry.


Well Shanghai, it’s been a long time since I rapped at you. Life itself has been updated, with institutions that seemed like they were immortal going bust. Ordinances and laws have been altered on an almost daily basis. Yet still we proud few hung on in horror as the world experienced something that’s never happened before in our lifetimes. Like many people, I tried to find solace at the bottom of a bottle and – like the dearly departed Westin brunch – that bottle was on free flow.

However, as I write this now in a taco truck in Jing’an, Gucci Mane is playing on the sound system, the sun is shining, the sky is blue, people are day drinking and masks are becoming less and less ubiquitous. Spring has sprung in Shanghai, and – hopefully – we’ll get some warmth into our whiskey scarred souls; little rays of sunshine to help the world heal as we go through this madness together.

It’s not all doom and gloom, though: spring means spring cocktails; it means your office coworker Cherry wearing booty shorts to meetings; it means... well it means life is blossoming. What better way to celebrate sunshine, pollen in the air and Cherry’s booty shorts than with some fun cocktail history. 

We’ve covered mint juleps, negronis, mai tais, Bloody Marys and palomas, but I don’t think we’ve ever touched on the daiquiri [We’ll put Logan’s memory lapse down to too many Papa Dobles – Ed.] – that wonderfully exotic blend of rum and citrus that instantly makes you feel like you’re in summer vacation mode.

READ MORE: Ernest Hemingway's Guide to Tense, Haunting Hangovers

“This is a war universe. War all the time. That is its nature. There may be other universes based on all sorts of other principles, but ours seems to be based on war.” William S. Burroughs said that, no doubt musing on the origins of the daiquiri. For, as with everything in this universe, the story of the daiquiri starts with a war. The 1898 Spanish-American War and a battle fought in the town of Daiquiri, Cuba.

An American engineer named Jennings Stockton Cox had remained in Daquiri after the war. Hosting a house party, out of gin, and desperate not to disappoint his six guests, he served them a drink with the ingredients he had on hand: Bacardi white rum, lime, sugar, ice and mineral water. (You have to remember, people back then didn’t have much in the way of entertainment, and rum wasn’t as well known as it now.)

The cocktail was a party hit, but didn’t make it much further than the Daiquiri city limits because the town of Daiquiri suffered a plague (and I don’t need to tell you about the importance of a lockdown in times of pestilence). The daiquiri was also overshadowed by another famous Cuban drink that was blowing up at the time – I’m talking, of course, about the Cuba Libre.

Let’s fast forward to 1909, when the battleship USS Minnesota dropped anchor off Cuba and her captain and ship doctor decided to tour the island nation and check out battle sites from the recent war. Arriving in Daiquiri they met with a certain Jennings Stockton Cox, probably listened to some Lil Wayne, got faded at his place, Ubered back to their boat, steamed back to the States bleary-eyed and – boom! – a star is born. 

The Navy personnel took the drink recipe back to the Army and Navy Club in Washington, DC, which to this day, proudly has the daiquiri on its cocktail menu; traditionally, the drink is imbibed in front of a painting of Santiago Bay in the Daiquiri Room.

As for how blenders got to be part of this mix, but I blame the 70s. I can clearly remember being four years old on a holiday trip with my parents drinking virgin banana daiquiris on the beach, and I now like to make a blended pineapple daiquiri that is both simple and nui bi.

Logan’s Kao Bolo Daiquiri

Ingredients

  • 1 pineapple, peeled and cored in rings

  • 45ml dark rum

  • 15ml lime juice

  • 2 shots Jameson

  • Ice

  • Blender

  • 2 shots of Fernet

  • 2 dash of Angostura bitters

  • 30ml pineapple juice

Instructions

Take one shot of Fernet Branca and drink it as you heat up a grill (or a frying pan). Place one piece of pineapple on the grill carefully to watch for caramelization, as you enjoy your first shot of Jameson. Once the pineapple is caramelized on both sides take it off the grill and let it cool. Enjoy your third shot. Take the room temperature caramelized pineapple and add it to your blender. Then top with rum, lime juice, pineapple juice and bitters. Top the mix with ice, but not enough to fill the blender, just enough to cover the ingredients. Pulse blend till smooth. If it’s too watery add more ice to taste. Pour into a fancy coupe or martini glass. Enjoy the beautiful drink you created as you finish your last shot. Get drunk out in the sun with your new favorite drink.


See more of Logan’s columns here.

[Cover image via Wiki]

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