How to Make a Classic Daiquiri (The History of Classic Cocktails)

How to Make a Classic Daiquiri (The History of Classic Cocktails)

This isn’t the sickeningly sweet, fluorescent pink daiquiri that you think you know and love. This is the real deal. No artificial sweeteners. No Red40. No blended ice.

Now, most of us have had a typical daiquiri: it’s neon pink and tastes like what I’m guessing a unicorn tastes like. But have you ever had a REAL daiquiri? *pause for reaction*

But, Amara, what do you mean a real daiquiri?!

The Man, the Myth, the Daiquiri

The word Daiquirí comes from the Taíno people who solely inhabited Cuba, Hispaniola (the Dominican Republic and Haiti), Jamaica, and Puerto Rico prior to European contact in the late-15th century. The Taíno were some of the first unlucky inhabitants that came into contact with Christopher Columbus during his 1492 voyage. 

While the original Taíno people of Cuba are long gone, words from their language, like “daiquiri,” have survived. The name for the cocktail, however, was actually taken from the name of the village where American mining engineer and proposed father of the cocktail, Jennings S. Cox, lived.

Jennings S. Cox

Jennings S. Cox

Like most great cocktails, there are various stories as to who invented the daiquiri. The first of these centers around an American named Jennings S. Cox. He was a mining engineer who, at the end of the nineteenth-century, worked for the Spanish-American Iron Company situated near the village of Daiquiri in Cuba. Legend has it that Cox was entertaining some American guests at his home when he ran out of gin. Instead of serving straight local rum, he added sugar and lime juice to soften it for the American palate.

In 1909, Admiral Lucius W. Johnson, a U.S. Navy medical officer visited Cox in Cuba and tried his supposed creation. When he returned to the states, Johnson brought the recipe for the daiquiri back with him and introduced it’s exotic citrus flavor to the less exotic Army and Navy Club in Washington D.C. To reduce the rates of scurvy, the Army and Navy Club instituted this beverage as a must for all soldiers.

A different iteration of Cox’s story pinpoints him at a bar called Venus that was located in Santiago. He and his fellow American mining engineers were sitting there when they all supposedly created the daiquiri together. This version of the story also notes an Italian mining engineer by the name of either Pagliuchi or Pagliucci, who paid Cox a visit. In this version, Cox apparently created the daiquiri for the miners in the area at Venus in Santiago. They would stop at the bar on their way to work and throw a few daiquiris back. Pagliuchi supposedly circulated this drink recipe, however, no written recipe has been found to corroborate this.

General William Rufus Shafter

Gen. William Rufus Shafter

Another narrative centers around the discomfort of an overweight American General named William Rufus Shafter. General Shafter was stationed in Cuba during the Spanish-American War. Being a larger fellow, he was not faring well in the Caribbean heat and sought a respite. He found it in the form of a refreshing tropical beverage. Shafter allegedly mixed a rum sour with ice and shook it vigorously until the daiquiri was supposedly born.

Personally, I don’t believe any of these stories to be entirely true. They all emerged during the Spanish-American War when American nationalism would have been at its peak. I do, however, believe that they offer a glimpse into the history of the daiquiri as well as colonialism.

Advice from Ernest Hemingway

To create an authentic daiquiri, take some advice from connoisseur Ernest Hemingway. In his novel Islands in the Stream he writes: “This frozen daiquiri, so well beaten as it is, looks like the sea where the wave falls away from the bow of a ship when she is doing thirty knots.”

**It was actually much harder for me to get a lot of froth other than immediately after shaking. If you have any tips on how to achieve maximum daiquiri froth, please comment your tips below! 🙂 **

Enjoy your booze cruise! 🙂

clock clock iconcutlery cutlery iconflag flag iconfolder folder iconinstagram instagram iconpinterest pinterest iconfacebook facebook iconprint print iconsquares squares iconheart heart iconheart solid heart solid icon
Amara Andrew- Daiquiri recipe

Classic Daiquiri Recipe (3 simple ingredients!)

  • Author: Amara Andrew
  • Prep Time: 0 minutes
  • Cook Time: 5 minutes
  • Total Time: 5 minutes
  • Yield: 1 daiquiri 1x
  • Category: Cocktail


If you want an authentic daiquiri, take some advice from daiquiri connoisseur Ernest Hemingway in his novel Islands in the Stream: “This frozen daiquiri, so well beaten as it is, looks like the sea where the wave falls away from the bow of a ship when she is doing thirty knots.” This daiquiri is the real deal. No artificial sweeteners. No Red40. No blended ice. Drink up!



For cocktail:

  • 2 oz. white rum
  • ¾ oz. organic lime juice
  • ¾ oz. simple syrup

For garnish:

  • Lime wheel


  1. Fill a cocktail shaker or metal cup (with some sort of lid or a glass that fits tightly inside the metal cup) with ice.
  2. Add all the ingredients, except for the lime wheel.
  3. Shake vigorously until the ingredients are well combined and chilled, so for about 20-30 seconds (Make Hemingway proud!).
  4. Strain into a cocktail glass.
  5. Garnish with the lime wheel and get hammered.

Keywords: cocktail, daiquiri, rum, summer, drinks, history, history of classic cocktails, classic cocktail

 Show Me Your Cocktail!

Tag me on Instagram @amara_andrew with the hashtag #historyofcocktails to show me how you were able to froth your daiquiri…seriously, help me! 😛

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe rating 5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star