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Food & Drink

How Do You Daiquiri? Parsing the NOLA Daiquiri

Two exclusive recipes and an original classic are yours to try at home as we explore the New Orleans daiquiri and Tales of the Cocktail’s latest event, Daiquiri Season.

daiquiris
Daiquiri machines in rotation. (Photo: Rebecca Ratliff)

Five years ago, I founded the New Orleans Daiquiri Festival to celebrate the daiquiri as a cultural asset of our city and state. This year, the organizers of Tales of the Cocktail have created Daiquiri Season in its honor, featuring several events throughout the month of September that celebrate this local favorite. I’m proud to live in a city that calls the Sazerac its official cocktail, and if I had my way, the daiquiri would be the official cocktail of the state of Louisiana.

A little history + Recipes

But wait… what exactly makes a drink a daiquiri, you say?

To answer that question, we also need to determine the “where” and “when” of the situation. If you were enjoying a daiquiri in Daiquiri Bay, Cuba, in the late 19th century, it would likely be fixed up according to a recipe by Jennings Cox, an American mining engineer who is said to have invented the drink:

Jennings Cox’s Original Recipe (via Bacardi)

  • 6 Lemons
  • 6 tsp./ 30 ml Sugar
  • 6 c./ 1.4 l of Bacardi Rum
  • 2 c./ .5 l of Mineral water
  • Crushed ice
  • Put all of the ingredients into a bowl and mix well. Add the ice after the mixture is stirred thoroughly. Ladle into cups and enjoy.

In the 100 years that came after Cox’s recipe, the daiquiri went through a number of transformations. Just take a look at the recipes below from MOPHO and Barrel Proof:

What other cocktail is as much an outdoor accessory as it is a cocktail?

The Inferno from MOPHO. (Photo courtesy of Sharon Pye Photography)

MOPHO’s The Inferno

  • 1 1⁄2 ounces Flor de Cana aged rum
  • 1 ounce Domaine de Canton
  • 1⁄2 ounce lime juice
  • 1⁄4 ounceTamarind Honey syrup
  • 2 dashes El Guapo Polynesian Kiss Bitters
  • Bar spoon
  • Benedictine liqueur
  • Shake first four ingredients with ice
  • Strain over large ice cube; float Benedictine over cube.
  • Garnish with mint

    The Sirocco Freeze from Barrel Proof. (Photo courtesy of Sharon Pye Photography)

Barrel Proof’s Sirocco Freeze

  • 2 ounces of Pierre Ferrand Cognac
  • 1 ounce lime juice
  • 1/2 ounce Luxardo Maraschino
  • 1/4 ounce rich simple syrup
  • Shake without ice
  • Pour over crushed ice
  • Grate fresh nutmeg over top

Daiquiri characteristics

The Pelican State has its very own tradition of the daiquiri, and though rum, lime, and sugar are always welcome, the tradition of the daiquiri from Ruston to Baton Rouge to New Orleans holds true to three essential characteristics:

1. Daiquiris are made with a good amount of booze, if not more than a good amount.

2. Daiquiris are served frozen to a slush just thin enough to slide through a straw.

3. Daiquiris are typically served to-go, in a Go Cup, be it from a Drive-Thru Daiquiri Shop, a neighborhood Daiquiri Shop, or any other bar equipped with a Daiquiri machine. 

In New Orleans and in all of Louisiana, daiquiris may be made with any type of spirit and flavor. There really isn’t anything that you can’t put in a daiquiri. So, when wondering about what makes the Daiquiri so special, consider the following questions:

What other cocktail can you buy by the gallon?

What other cocktail is served in such a variety of signature cups and glasses?

What other cocktail is as much an outdoor accessory as it is a cocktail?

What other cocktail has shops that specialize in variations of that cocktail exclusively?

While the daiquiri is not unique to the state, Louisiana’s frozen daiquiris and daiquiri shops have become icons of our unique freedom to enjoy adult beverages outside the confines of a bar or restaurant. Cheers to that.

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