American novelist and man’s man Ernest Hemingway was well-known for his drinking prowess. He drank with other famous artists of his time, like James Joyce, F. Scott Fitzgerald, and WB Yeats, but none of them have so many drinks (and drinking stories!) attributed to them as Hemingway. One classic, appropriately and simply named The Hemingway Daiquiri, has a contested history that’s the most fun to debate over a few of the same.
Keep reading for more on the story behind the Hemingway Daiquiri, its recipe, and some fun variations to add to your repertoire.
According to legend, while living in Havana in the 1930s, Hemingway divided his time between writing in his rented room and drinking in local bars. In need of a restroom one afternoon, he ducked into El Floridita, a historic bar in Old Havana. Bartender Constantino Ribalaigua Vert was setting up frozen daiquiris at the time, and Hemingway, never one to pass up a drink, asked to try one. “That’s good,” he said, “but I prefer it without the sugar and double the rum.”
As any good bartender should, Ribalaigua shook up another daiquiri to Hemingway’s specifications. With a whopping three ounces of rum, fresh lime and grapefruit juice, a bar spoon of maraschino liqueur, and no sugar, Ribalaigua came up with the Papa Doble. The cocktail was named for Hemingway’s nickname around Old Havana (‘Papa’ for his graying hair and beard) and the double strength of the drink.
While Hemingway loved this stiff drink (it’s said he once downed 17 of them in an afternoon), such a bone-dry cocktail doesn’t appeal to the average drinker. Wishing to capitalize on Hemingway’s frequent appearances at his bar, Ribalaigua tweaked the recipe slightly to provide more balance, naming this variation the Hemingway Daiquiri. Though too sweet for the author himself, the Hemingway Daiquiri is a tart and strong cocktail that softens a hot Cuban afternoon.
Related: What is the Ford Cocktail?
2 ounces white rum
1/2 ounce maraschino liqueur
3/4 ounce lime juice, freshly squeezed
1/2 ounce grapefruit juice, freshly squeezed
Garnish: lime wheel
Add all ingredients to a cocktail shaker and fill with ice. Shake vigorously and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with a lime wheel. Alternatively, you can pour the drink over crushed or chipped ice to achieve that “frozen” effect.
Looking for more ways to enjoy the Hemingway Daiquiri? Here are a few variations:
With over 200 years in business, the El Floridita continues serving Hemingway his drink. Following his death in 1961, the bar installed a life-sized bronze statue of the author in his usual spot and pours him a daiquiri every day.
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