When most people hear “daiquiri,” what may come to mind are fruity, blended, pre-mixed drinks served in tall, plastic, novelty glass and a twisted straw. Fortunately, a true daiquiri is a simple combination of rum, sugar, and lime and has many different names based on the spirit used. A Ti’ Punch utilizes rhum agricole from Martinique, or a Caipirinha which has Brazilian agricole cachaça. The name daiquiri comes from a town in Cuba where an American is said to have invented the drink around 1900. However, the mixture has a long history with the British navy, and even further history with a classic punch recipe: one of sour, two of sweet, three of strong, four of week. Traditionally, the weak was water until one of the supposed inventors of the daiquiri used ice. Crazy!
Way before that time, around 1650’s, rum became part of the British Royal Navy. The rum helped morale and sterilized the drinking water. The rum back then was very strong and rough, going by the name “Kill-Devil” at times, and the only way to measure alcoholic strength was to mix gunpowder with the liquid. Spirits below 57.15% would not ignite the gunpowder, therefore 57.15% became known as 100 proof. Today however, 100 proof means 50% alcohol and navy strength is the original 57.15%.
Around 1750, Admiral Edward “Old Grogram” Vernon noticed sailors were not effective workers when inebriated. He wanted to eliminate the ration, but wished to avoid mutiny and upheaval. Instead, he decided to dilute the rum with water, issuing an order for all the navy to do so. He also allowed sailors to exchange bread rations with sugar and lime to make the rum more palatable, which became part of the rations around 1755. This mixture became known as “grog,” named after Admiral Vernon. Unrelated to rum, George Washington’s estate Mount Vernon is named after the same admiral!
Due to the temperance movement and ongoing issues of drunk sailors, the rum rations were eliminated for good on July 31, 1970, known as Black Tot Day, “tot” being a name for the rum ration. Sailors wore black armbands and participated in mock funerals. Fortunately, in 1980, a British Navy Board released the naval rum recipe to an American entrepreneur who created Pussers Rum, on our shelves for $19.79 on sale! Drink like you’re in the Navy!
Now make a classic daiquiri at home, no banana or strawberry necessary!
1 ¼ oz Plantation 3 star
¾ oz Plantation OFTD, or Smith and Cross Navy Strength, or Hamilton Gold Rum (all funky and delicious, adds depth to the drink)
¾ oz fresh lime juice (no rose’s or squeeze limes here)
½ oz rich simple syrup (2:1 ratio sugar to water)
Shake all ingredients, serve in glass of your preference, with or without ice. Cheers!