Hemingway Daiquiri

To be a successful father… there’s one absolute rule: when you have a kid, don’t look at it for the first two years.

– Ernest Hemingway

There you have it. Hemingway was an exceptional father… said no one ever. Nope, Hemingway didn’t win any Father of the Year awards, that’s for sure. But, boy, could that man drink. I’m not sure that Mr. Hemingway, or “Papa” as he was affectionately known, met a drink he didn’t like.

With respect to the Hemingway Daiquiri, aka “Papa Doble”, the story goes that he stopped into Havana’s El Floridita bar to relieve himself, when he caught sight of some Daiquiris, which he decided to sample. I mean, why not? They weren’t going to drink themselves, were they? His assessment of these Daiquiris? Too much sugar and not enough booze. A man after my own heart in this regard. So the bartender, who happened to be the great Constantino Ribalaigua Vert, whipped him up another Daiquiri, sans sugar, but double the rum. Now, that was more like it. Goddamnit, yes. That’s the ticket! And so it goes.

Legend has it, on one occasion the Champ strode into El Floridita, pulled up a stool to the bar and demolished 16 Papa Dobles in swift succession. By this point, señor Ribalaigua had tweaked the recipe such that it was composed of:

…two and a half jiggers [or 3¾ ounces] of Bacardi White Label Rum, the juice of two limes and half a grapefruit, and six drops of maraschino, all placed in an electric mixer over shaved ice, whirled vigorously and served foaming in large goblets.

Hemingway remarked that they “had no taste of alcohol and felt, as you drank them, the way downhill glacier skiing feels running through powder snow.” Well then.

Wait a tick. 3¾ ounces of rum per drink, you say? Sixteen in one sitting, you say? Sixteen? Great googily moogily. If my math is correct – and I think it is – that’s 120 ounces of rum. I have read he had self-destructive tendencies…

Thankfully, the drink evolved to something a little more manageable and infinitely more tasty. I present to you, the Hemingway Daiquiri.

Hemingway Daiquiri

    • 2 oz. Barbancourt 3 Stars 4 Year dark rhum
    • ¾ oz. freshly squeezed lime juice
    • ½ oz. Luxardo Maraschino Liqueur
    • ½ oz. freshly squeezed white grapefruit juice

Add everything to a shaker with ice and do your best impression of a paint mixer until the outside of the shaker begins to frost up (~12 seconds did it on this occasion). Double strain into an appropriate vessel to rid the drink of ice shards and pulp and garnish with a paper thin lime wheel. Lovely.

I realize that traditionally this thing is compounded with white rum; however, I find that a rhum (rhum agricole, especially) is… well… better. The added depth and complexity really elevates this drink. And why the white grapefruit over a ruby red or pink grapefruit? The reasons are two-fold:

    1. I find white grapefruits are a bit less sweet and have a cleaner, crisper taste, as pointed out by Brian at Better Cocktails at Home; and
    2. I’ve been getting flak about what some people see as a disturbing trend toward pink coloured cocktails. I’ve been the recipient of hurtful accusations alleging that my daughter has no dad, but rather two mums; and other such callous revilement. White grapefruits are decidedly less pink.

Compared to a standard Daiquiri, the grapefruit and the Maraschino of the Hemingway add a touch more depth and wee bit more sweetness. If you are lucky enough to have drank this cocktail as a young man, then wherever you go for the rest of your life, it stays with you, for the Hemingway Daiquiri is a moveable feast (see what I did there?).

I’ll leave you with another tidbit of advice from Hemingway:

“Always do sober what you said you’d do drunk. That will teach you to keep your mouth shut.”