The true test of a bartender’s skill, says the internet (probably thanks to Sasha Petraske), is the daiquiri.
Cocktail snobs might claim to prefer drinks so laced with amari or shrubs that they’re caustic, but the truth is the classic daiquiri can please just about any palate.
The daiquiri has much more to offer than its sludgy beachside cousins might suggest. Daiquiris are the perfect balance of simple flavors: sweetness from the rum and sugar and acidity from the lime juice.
Assuming you have good, fresh lime juice, the rum you choose and the proportions you use can influence the end product fairly significantly, which is what makes this drink such an interesting test for bartenders.
This is not the time to reach for bottom-shelf rum. When it comes to sweeter drinks, a lot of people, myself in a past cocktail-making life included, think that adding sugar means drowning out the taste of the spirit — and thus, use the cheapest version of said spirit. Unfortunately, cutting corners on your rum when it comes to a daiquiri just results in a bad daiquiri and a bad headache.
I found myself favoring Boston distilled Bully Boy white rum thanks to a local bartender who used it in a delicious daiquiri. It’s clean but has a more interesting caramel note than the typical white rum.
In terms of the proportions, there are a great many variations, and the truth is it’s really up to your taste. Sasha Petraske’s recipe, memorialized in his posthumous book Regarding Cocktails, takes cocktail neuroses to another level with 7/8 ounces of lime juice, 3/4 simple syrup and 2 ounces of white rum.
It would appear that my taste falls in line with Sasha’s, but I turn down the simple syrup ever so slightly and stick with an even 3/4 ounce lime juice (that’s an ounce less than Sasha’s, if anyone’s counting).
2 oz Bully Boy white rum
3/4 oz fresh lime juice
scant 3/4 oz simple syrup
Shake and fine strain into a chilled coupe.
If you like a classic daiquiri but are looking for something a little funkier, check out my post on the rhum agricole daiquri.