The Daiquiri is a cocktail that has a lot more history than you’d probably believe. It originated in Cuba around the time of the Spanish American War with its creation being attributed to Jennings Cox, an American Mining Engineer. The story goes that it was a highly popular local drink until an American Naval Officer brought the recipe back to the Army and Navy Club in Washington in 1909. At the time it was said to be the favorite beverage Ernest Hemmingway and John F. Kennedy.
As the war effort ramped up in the 1940’s rationing also expanded to include the restriction of whisky and vodka. This left the only readily available spirit to be Cuban rum, as such rum based cocktails flourished and the Daiquiri experienced a huge surge in popularity.
The original recipe is nothing like the syrupy sweet blended drink you’ll find at most bars today. It was much more focused on its Cuban origins: 4 parts White Rum, 3 parts Lime Juice and 2 parts Simple Syrup (or a table spoon of super fine sugar) shaken over cracked ice and poured in a tall coupe.
When I got my hands on some raspberries the first thing that came to mind was a raspberry daiquiri. I thought rather than adding sweetened ice cream mixes to make a fruit based daiquiri I could infuse the fruit directly into the white rum. At this point I had already toyed around with berry infusions cooked in the sous-vide (thermal circulator) and decided to go with my standard method: 2 cups of berries per 750ml of the base spirit at 65⁰C for 4 hours. I also blend the alcohol and berries together prior to putting them in the circulator, then strained the pulp out after removing it. For this infusion I have used a variety of different white rums. In keeping with the drink’s Cuban origins you can try using Cuban rum like Havana Club, for this batch I used Brugal from the Dominican Republic.
The raspberry flavor this method imparts on the white rum is amazing. I’m a fan of raspberry to begin with, but in my opinion this raspberry rum is one of my biggest infusion successes. The raspberry rum tastes as though someone just muddled fresh raspberries into it, infusing spirits with real fruit imparts real fruit flavors and the raspberry rum is a great example of it.
With the infusion a success on the first try I decided to go with the classic daiquiri recipe, subbing white rum for the raspberry infusion. I used 2 oz of the raspberry rum, 1.5 oz of fresh lime juice (roughly the juice from a whole lime) and 1 oz of simple syrup. The result was a hit.
The citrus helps to give the raspberry flavor a bit of life and the sugar balances the cocktail without making it overpoweringly sweet. If I liked the raspberry infusion before, I loved it now. Given how much this cocktail tastes like raspberry I even toyed with the idea of calling it just that, ‘The Raspberry.’ However given that I used the exact ratio’s from the classic I stuck with ‘Raspberry Daiquiri’ even if it is nothing like its blended counterpart.
While I am a huge fan of mixed drinks, I wouldn’t necessarily call myself a ‘martini’ guy. The Raspberry Daiquiri is my exception. I love that you get such a powerful raspberry flavor without the pound of sugar. I regularly recommend it when people ask for something that ‘isn’t too sweet’ and while people doubt me before they taste it, no one has ever been disappointed after the first sip.