Strawberry daiquiri recipes are abound on the Internet, with just about every bartender or drink enthusiast adding their own variations to the growing recipe book. Many of the daiquiri recipes bear very little resemblance to the original daiquiri, or even to the earliest strawberry daiquiri recipes. Whether you like your strawberry daiquiris frozen, fresh or topped with whipped cream, there's a lot more to know about strawberry daiquiris than you think.
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A strawberry daiquiri is made with light or dark rum, lime juice, sugar or simple syrup, strawberries and cracked ice. The drink may be made in a blender, though purists insist that true strawberry daiquiris are made in a cocktail shaker with crushed ice and fresh strawberries.
No one is quite sure who made the first strawberry daiquiri, but the classic daiquiri made without strawberries has quite a bit of history. According to tradition, the daiquiri was created by Jennings Cox, an American mining engineer working in the little town of Daiquiri, Cuba. The story goes that Cox was entertaining guests and ran out of gin, so he turned to mixing rum and lime juice instead of making a gin lime rickey. Chances are, though, that the locals in Cuba had been enjoying daiquiris long before Cox was credited with inventing the drink in 1905. The daiquiri remained a Cuban secret until 1909 when Admiral Lucius Johnson, a US Navy medical officer, discovered the drink and brought the recipe back to the Army and Navy Club in Washington D.C. The drink was further popularised in the 1940s, when strict trade agreements made most kinds of liquor difficult to obtain. Rum, however, remained easy to import thanks to President Roosevelt's Good Neighbor trade policy, which favoured Cuba and other Latin American countries.
Constante Ribailagua, the bartender at the El Floridita bar in Havana during the 1920s, is credited with creating a number of variations on the classic daiquiri, including the first frozen one and a version of the daiquiri made with coffee liqueur and called a Mulato. He may or may not have created the first strawberry daiquiri, but Ribailagua would probably have appreciated the wide variety of strawberry daiquiri types that have developed over the years. A classic strawberry daiquiri is made by muddling 5 to 6 fresh strawberries in the bottom of a cocktail shaker, then adding rum, lime juice and simple syrup. The mixture is shaken with ice and strained into a glass, rimmed with superfine sugar. The result is tart and refreshing, with just enough sweetness to cut the edge of the lime's sourness. A frozen strawberry daiquiri is typically made in a blender, using rum, lime juice, simple syrup and fresh or frozen strawberries. Ice is added to the blender and the whole mix is whirled until the ice is crushed. The result is typically a sweet, slushy drink that barely tastes of rum. A virgin strawberry daiquiri eliminates the rum to make a non-alcoholic version of the popular drink. Virgin daiquiris are most often of the slushy ice variety, often topped with a thick dollop of whipped cream like a dessert drink. Many variations of strawberry daiquiri use grenadine or strawberry syrup and some add other liqueurs for additional flavour. A particular favourite adds a shot of Triplesec to brighten the citrus flavour of the lime.
The secret to making an excellent strawberry daiquiri is balancing the sweet and sour flavours just right. That requires more than just figuring out how much sugar to add since each of the ingredients contribute some sweetness to the mix. If you use gold or dark rum, for instance, the drink will be sweeter than if you use white rum since the gold rum has a hint of molasses to the flavour. If you're uncertain of your ability to get the flavour balance just right, there are many packaged strawberry daiquiri mixes on the market that make it easy.
If your only experience with strawberry daiquiris is the frozen, slushy variety, try this classic recipe for strawberry daiquiri made the way that Constante Ribailaigua might have made it. Hull 5 to 6 fresh strawberries and drop them into a cocktail shaker. Crush the strawberries well with the back of a spoon. Add 60 ml (2 oz.) of white rum, 15 ml (1/2 oz) of fresh lime juice and 7 ml of simple syrup. Pack crushed ice into the cocktail shaker, cover and shake vigorously. Strain the daiquiri into a martini glass rimmed with sugar and enjoy.
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