Sunday, July 3, 2016

The Hemingway Daiquiri

With yesterday being the 55th anniversary of the passing of legendary writer, author, journalist and bon-vivant Ernest "Papa" Hemingway, I wanted to celebrate his legacy by having one of his signature cocktails: the Hemingway Daiquiri. 

Hemingway spent many an day traveling between Florida and Cuba, spending time at one of his favorite watering holes: El Floridita which is located el la Vieja Habana. Hemingway spent so much time there that a statue has been erected at the spot in the bar where Hemingway used to occupy. According to the article Hemingway vuelve a tomar daiquiris en su bar favorito de Cuba from the El Floridita bar website (translated by Google Translate and me):
From now on every day (the statue) will be served a Hemingway daiquiri, say the waiters of the establishment.
Courtesy of El Floridita
The bronze statue was made by the Cuban sculptor Jose Villa Soberon based on portraits and photos of Hemingway, who lived long periods in Cuba for more than two decades until the year before his suicide in 1961 at his home in Idaho.
El Floridita is one of the places of forced pilgrimage for many fans of Hemingway, along with the Finca Vigia, home on the outskirts of Havana where he wrote "The Old Man and the Sea" and where friends such as Ava Gardner and Gary Cooper stayed.
When he was in Havana, Hemingway often went to the Floridita to sip his favorite cocktail, the daiquiri (rum-based , lemon , maraschino and sugar) and the mojito, another famous Cuban drink with mint, nearby at the Bodeguita del Medio.
Now what I find interesting that they would mention Hemingway having his Daiquiri with sugar. It was well known that Hemingway was a diabetic, so he tried his best to avoid any extra sugar, especially in his cocktails. Also it was believed that Hemingway felt that you'd get sick if you drank too much sugar in your drinks. Regardless of what the reasons were, what I have read is that Hemingway didn't drink his daiquiris as the standard recipe states: white rum, lime juice and sugar blended with ice.

Hemingway liked his daiquiris, which the lore states El Floridita barman Constantino Ribaliagua invented the drink for him using the standard white rum and lime juice but adding grapefruit juice and maraschino liqueur. Recipes that I have come across vary from having two-to-one grapefruit to lime to the opposite ratio of two times lime to one time grapefruit. For the basis of this cocktail, I used the following recipe based on the recipe listed in Carey Jones' (Twitter @CareyJones) book Brooklyn Bartender: A Modern Guide to Cocktails and Spirits:
Hemingway Daiquiri
2oz/60ml The Real McCoy 3-year Rum (hers called for 3oz)
.75oz/20ml Fresh Ruby Red Grapefruit Juice (hers called for 1.5oz)
.50oz/15ml Fresh Lime Juice (hers called for .75oz)
.25oz/10ml Luxardo Maraschino Liqueur (hers called for .5oz)
Jones called for the cocktail to be built over ice and blended. I don't have a functioning blender so shaken over ice would do. Given that the ratios were similar, this is what I found about the cocktail I made.

The citrus just exploded in my mouth though I think the ratio of grapefruit to lime made it somewhat bitter to my palate. I could taste feel the sweetness from the Maraschino Liqueur. On my second try, I made the cocktail with the same ratio of .5oz of both grapefruit and lime juices.

The second cocktail was a more balanced cocktail to me. Very smooth and refreshing. I can see why Hemingway could put down a half dozen of these whether straight up or blended. That Hemingway was a beast of a drinker. En Paz Descanse Papa.

So I guess I'm going to have to go visit Carey Jones in Brooklyn to have one of the Papa Hemingway Daiquiris from her book. Add another mission to the mission book.

Here is the quick one minute video I posted to both Instagram (@SiscoVanilla) and YouTube (SiscoVanilla)

Until Then Happy Drinking,

For Further Reading: