Celebrating the Daiquiri

To help celebrate National Daiquiri Day we provide a quick history of the cocktail along with two of its most famous renditions – the Hemingway Daiquiri and Simon Difford’s best daiquiri recipe.

History attributes the daiquiri to Jennings Cox, an American mining engineer working near the town of Daiquiri, Cuba. As legend has it, Cox ran out of gin one day in 1898 and reached for a bottle of the local rum. To make it more palatable, he added juice of freshly squeezed limes, some sugar, and mineral water.

handwritten recipe card of a daiquiri recipe

His original recipe, shown above, is a batched cocktail for six servings. He calls for lemons, but it is a mistranslation of the Spanish word for lime (lemon). Cox’s original recipe became a local hit, and was soon popularized by the US Navy.

Hemingway would fall in love with the daiquiri. He created his eponymous version over several sessions with the bartender at the Hotel El Floridita in Havana. Favoring a drier style, Hemingway replaced the sugar with maraschino liqueur and fresh squeezed grape fruit juice. Thus was born the Hemingway Daiquiri.

  • 2 oz white rum oz lime juice
  • ¾ oz lime juice
  • ½ oz maraschino liqueur
  • ½ oz grapefruit juice

Combine the ingredients in a cocktail shaker, add ice, and shake until well chilled. Double strain into a cocktail glass and garnish with a wheel of lime.

Hemingway daiquiri garnished with a lime wheel served in a glass


Many prefer a sweeter version of this cocktail, closer to Cox’s original recipe. The proportions of spirit, citrus, and sugar have been adjusted over the years as tastes have evolved. Famed bartender Simon Difford has explored the ratios of the key ingredients to create a daiquiri for today’s tastes.

  • 2 oz light rum
  • 2/3 oz lime juice
  • 2 bar spoons sugar

No history of the daiquiri can be complete without mentioning that it was a favorite of the Kennedys. President John Kennedy celebrated his presidential election victory with a daiquiri made by his wife. Jackie Kennedy’s recipe was said to have been taped to the kitchen wall of the withe house. Here it is:

  • 2 oz light rum
  • 1 oz lime juice
  • 3 drops Falernum liqueur
  • 2 oz frozen limeade concentrate

Interesting here is the use of Falernum in place of simple syrup (perhaps a source for Gregor de Gruyther’s Nuclear Daiquiri?) and the use of frozen limeade concentrate – perhaps anticipating the frozen daiquiri craze.

Try each of these recipes yourself and feel free to do your own experimentation. Just remember – National Daiquiri Day comes but once a year.