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Friday Musings: The Hemingway Daiquiri

Friday Musings: The Hemingway Daiquiri

hemdaiquiriWhen in Havana, Ernest Hemingway spent a good deal of his time in a bar called El Floridita. It is said that he asked the bartender there, whose name was Constantino Ribalaigua Vert, to make him a daiquiri with “half the sugar and double the booze.” Since the original would have contained only rum, lime juice, and sugar, changing those ratios would have created a very unbalanced drink. According to Hemingway, “it was good, it was a fine drink” and he claimed to hold the record for drinking 16 double Daiquiris in one night! And to think he was worried about sugar!! Hemingway may have loved his version of the cocktail, but over time it proved to be too bland, too tart, and too boozy. It eventually morphed into something a bit different with the addition of Maraschino liqueur and grapefruit juice. Most people feel the need to also add the sugar back in by using simple syrup; I know for certain that I do.

Original Daiquiri

2 oz light rum such as Bacardi
1/2 oz fresh lime juice
1/2 oz simple syrup*
Lime wheel for garnishing

Add all the ingredients to the bottom half of a shaker tin. Add your one large cube, and 2 small, or fill 2/3 full with regular ice. Shake until very cold. Double strain using a Hawthorne strainer and a mesh strainer into a chilled cocktail glass.

Hemingway Daiquiri

2 oz light rum such as Bacardi
1/2 oz Luxardo Maraschino liqueur
3/4 oz fresh lime juice
1/2 oz fresh grapefruit juice
1/2 oz simple syrup*
Lime wheel for garnishing

Add all the ingredients to the bottom half of a shaker tin. Add your one large cube, and 2 small, or fill 2/3 full with regular ice. Shake until very cold. Double strain using a Hawthorne strainer and a mesh strainer into a chilled cocktail glass.

*To make the simple syrup combine equal parts sugar and water and bring to a gentle boil until the liquid is clear. Store in a mason jar in the fridge for about a month.

You can also batch these Daiquiris in a blender with ice if you want more of a slushy drink. For one drink, simply pour over crushed ice. I would use wineglasses here instead of cocktail glasses.

Daiquiris are traditionally thought of as summertime drinks, but with a few changes we can easily transition them into cocktails for the colder months. Think along the lines of an aged rum like the Appleton Estate I used for the East India Trading Co. cocktail, winter citrus like blood oranges or Meyer lemons, simple syrups that are infused with spices like the Tippleman’s Burnt Sugar syrup that I used in my Rum and Root Old-fashioned, and liqueurs that have the same flavor profile like Dry Curaçao, Apricot Liqueur, and even an Amaro like Montenegro. Just keep the ratios the same as those in the Hemingway Daiquiri, and then adjust from there if you think you need to. The possibilities are endless – I can’t wait to try some of them!

Have a great weekend! See you all on Monday when we’ll be talking about that friend that gets you into trouble all the time… you guessed it – her name is Tequila.

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The East India Trading Co: Polished, smooth, and potent.

The East India Trading Co: Polished, smooth, and potent.

westindies1It’s hard to believe that the Mojito from Monday’s post contains the same base spirit as the East India Trading Co. (a cocktail from Death & Co in NYC), pictured above. I specifically chose this drink for today because I wanted to illustrate just how versatile rum can be. And let’s be honest, I was dying to try it! The combination of ingredients intrigued me: Appleton Estate Reserve Rum, Lustau East India Solera Sherry, Ramazzotti (an Italian Amaro), and Bittermens Xocolatl Mole Bitters. The Appleton is a Jamaican rum that has a gorgeous aroma of sweet molasses, orange, cocoa, and vanilla. When you taste it, you’ll also find all those flavors, but it’s powerful so you have to be careful to take small sips. Its beautiful color comes from the fact that it’s been aged at least 12 years in oak barrels. I had to substitute Osborne Oloroso Cream Sherry for the Lustau because it just wasn’t available anywhere. To me it’s all raisins and vanilla, sweet and easy to drink. The Ramazzotti is something I’ve had before and happen to like very much. It smells and tastes like bitter oranges and sweet spices, and it has that elusive element that all the Amari have. Who knows what’s in them? The Italians aren’t saying! I also had to substitute Bittered Sling Malagasy Chocolate Bitters for the Bittermens Xocolatl simply because that’s what I had here at home.

So let’s look at how this drink is composed. There are 2 ounces of the Appleton in this cocktail, so it clearly provides the main flavor profile, as well as the backbone and the punch. The Sherry draws out the sweetness in the rum, and the Ramazzotti echoes the oranges. The Chocolate Bitters act as a bridge, pulling out the cocoa from the Appleton and the spices from the Ramazzotti, while keeping the sweetness of the drink under control. It’s perfect harmony! This stirred cocktail is meant to be served in a chilled cocktail glass with no garnish. My husband loved it that way but, for me, it was just a little bit too strong. I preferred it in an Old-fashioned glass with one large ice cube. westindies2

East India Trading Co. from Death & Co. in NYC

2 oz Appleton Estate Reserve Rum
3/4 oz Lustau East India Solera Sherry
1/2 oz Ramazzotti
2 dashes Bittermens Xocolatl Mole bitters

Add all the ingredients to a mixing class and add ice. Stir with a long handled bar spoon for 15-20 seconds or longer until the drink is well chilled. Strain (using a julep strainer) into a chilled cocktail glass. Enjoy!

Check back tomorrow when I’ll be featuring the Art in the Age store in the Old City area of Philadelphia on the Thursday Barlogue!

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Rum: We should all be this confident, well-rounded, and secure.

Rum: We should all be this confident, well-rounded, and secure.

mojito

So if Gin is your friend at the party who is dancing on the tables, and Vodka just wants to go home to read her book, Rum is the friend you can bring anywhere and know she’ll be totally comfortable. She’s fun, yet incredibly versatile, with surprising depth. She’s able to talk about Dancing With the Stars in one moment and Don DeLillo’s latest novel in the next. Rum is a spirit that at its simplest will mix with lime juice, club soda, and mint to produce something like the light and refreshing Mojito, and at its deepest can combine with classic ingredients to produce a seriously smooth Rum Old-fashioned, or be sipped alone like a complex brandy. Before we get into classifying rums from lightest to heaviest, and looking at the differences between those categories, let’s talk for a minute about how rum is made.

All rum comes with the juice that is extracted from crushing and milling the sugarcane plant. Most of the rums that we are familiar with are made from molasses, which is a by-product of sugarcane juice being filtered, purified, and heated. This process crystallizes the sugar and leaves behind molasses. The two exceptions here are rhum agricole (made in the French-speaking islands of Haiti, Guadeloupe and Martinique), and cachaça (pronounced “”ka-SHAH-suh”) which comes from Brazil. Both rhum agricole and cachaça smell more like tequila than rum and have a grassier, funkier kind of flavor. I’ve seen Old-fashioned recipes that call for aged rhum agricole, chocolate bitters, and a flamed orange peel that sound outrageous, and cachaça is the main spirit in the Caipirinha (“kai-pur-EEN-ya”), the main cocktail of Brazil. Both are worth seeking out if you want to try something different, either at the liquor store or on a cocktail menu.

The various rums that are made from molasses are difficult to categorize because production is not regulated according to any type of universal standards like we had for gin. The easiest way for us to think about classifying rum then is according to grade (a combination of color and aging):

White or silver rums have spent less than 1 year aging in stainless steel barrels. They are filtered before bottling, have a very subtle, almost sweet taste, and are used mostly in cocktails like the mojito. Think along the lines of Bacardi Light here.

Gold or amber rums have spent some time in oak barrels, giving them more richness and smoothness in both flavor and fragrance. Producers that are readily available are Mount Gay Black Barrel, Appleton, and Bacardi 8. I used Mount Gay in the 7 Island Iced Tea that I made for my son in my Friday Musings post from September 30th.

Dark rums are well-aged in oak barrels that generally have a heavy char on them (meaning that they have literally been flamed on the inside). This imparts hints of spice, and strong molasses or caramel overtones. They have a heavier body to them and can be sipped or used in cocktails such as the Dark and Stormy. Some names to look for here are Myers, Goslings, and Bacardi Black.

Brandy style sipping rums are in a category all their own and are usually made by smaller, boutique style producers such as Angostura 1824 or Barbancourt 15. They have significant age and are meant to be sipped in much the same way as a cognac or whiskey.

Flavored rums have had flavors added in like coconut, pineapple, mango, and lime, and are used in tropical drinks that have the same flavor profile. Spiced rums have been infused with additional spices such as cinnamon, pepper, rosemary, or anise. Sometimes additional caramel is added back in.

Finally, overproof rums like Goslings 151 can have an alcohol content of 75% which can be very dangerous in a mixed drink. Proceed with caution!

Our first recipe that we’ll look at this week is is for a Mojito which uses light rum and conjures up images of relaxing on a porch somewhere beautiful and warm. It originally hails from Havana, Cuba where they often add Angostura or aromatic bitters to the drink, and is said to be Ernest Hemingway’s favorite drink.

The Mojito (from The Drunken Botanist by Amy Stewart)

1 1/2 oz white rum*
1 oz simple syrup**
3/4 oz fresh lime juice
2 oz of a good club soda like Fever Tree or Q
3 sprigs of fresh mint

In the bottom half of a cocktail shaker, muddle the 2 mint sprigs, the simple syrup, and the lime juice. Use very little pressure; just turn gently. Add the rum and your 1 large cube and 2 small. If you don’t have the large format cubes on hand, fill the shaker 2/3 full with ice and shake 15 seconds or until very cold. Strain into a Collins glass filled with crushed ice. Top with the club soda and garnish with the third mint sprig. Enjoy!

*I used Petty’s Island Rum made locally in Camden NJ.

**Simple syrup is made with 1 part water and 1 part sugar boiled until the liquid turns clear. You can then store it in the fridge for about a month.

Stop back tomorrow for a Dark and Stormy, one of my favorites!

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