The classic daiquiri is a simple, beautiful cocktail, worlds away from the frozen version. Rum, fresh lime juice, simple syrup. Shaken. Nothing more. Don't miss it.
Why we love this recipe
Simple, well-balanced classic cocktails are hard to beat. And yet the daiquiri has occupied an unenviable seat on the struggle bus over the years. Coopted on the one hand by the smoothie machine at TGI Fridays, and maligned on the other hand by snobbish folks who think they know more than they do, the original sometimes gets lost in the noise.
The thing is, a classic daiquiri — light rum, fresh lime juice, a dash of simple syrup, shaken and strained into a diminutive glass — was adored by the likes of J.F.K. and Hemingway. Isn't that basically the pinnacle of success? I'd have been beyond thrilled to clock out of the world with that feather in my cap, just sayin.
Anyhoo. Here's how to get back to basics and enjoy a classic daiquiri. I first published this recipe here back in 2009. I've since updated the post for clarity. Learn more about this drink's history here.
What you'll need
Here's a glance at the ingredients and tools you'll need to make this recipe.
- Light rum, also called white or silver rum, is clear and mild-tasting. I've pictured Bacardi Superior, which purports to be the original rum of the daiquiri. It's super-affordable, easily available, and extremely flexible. It's a fine choice for virtually all cocktails calling for light rum, but it certainly won't blow your mind. Here are some good choices if you're looking to step things up a bit.
- Freshly squeezed lime juice is essential
- Here's how to make 1:1 simple syrup. It keeps for a long time in the fridge, so make a batch to use in this and other cocktails.
- A smaller coupe or Nick and Nora glass is a nice way to serve this diminutive drink.
How to make it
Here's what you'll do to make a perfect classic daiquiri. You can see the steps in action in the video that accompanies this post, and get all the details in the recipe card below.
- Fill a cocktail shaker with plenty of ice. Pour in rum.
- Pour in lime juice and simple syrup.
- Shake well until very cold. Strain into a coupe or Nick and Nora glass.
- Garnish with a lime wheel and serve.
Expert tips and FAQs
Light rum, also called white or silver rum, is distilled from sugarcane just like other varieties. The "light" refers to both the clear color and the mild, "sweet" flavor profile. (There's no actual sugar content, but something about the rounded flavor and the hints of fruitiness can feel sweet and is often described that way.) It's the rum of choice for common cocktails like the daiquiri, Cuba libre, mojito, and piña colada.
Light rum tends to be aged less than other varieties — no more than a year. Depending on the producer, it may be aged in stainless steel casks or wooden barrels, then filtered to remove any color and impurities.
In the U.S., it is usually sold at 80 proof (40% ABV).
You sure can. It's a little less classic but a whole lot easier if you’ve got a lot of people to serve and lack a full-time bartender.
For 8 drinks, up to two hours before the party, pour 2 cups rum, 1 cup freshly squeezed lime juice, and ½ cup simple syrup into a pitcher and stir well. Chill until serving time. Five to 10 minutes before serving, stir in 2 cups ice.
Pour into glasses, garnish each with a lime wheel, and serve.
This diminutive glass was created in the 1930s and is just the right size for smaller classic cocktails. The name is based on the characters Nick and Nora Charles from Dashiell Hammett's novel The Thin Man.
More classic cocktails with lime
- 2 ounces light rum
- 1 ounce freshly squeezed lime juice
- ½ ounce 1:1 simple syrup
- Lime wheel, to garnish
- Fill a cocktail shaker with plenty of ice.
- Pour in the rum, lime juice, and simple syrup.
- Shake well until very cold.
- Pour into a small coupe or Nick and Nora glass, garnish with lime wheel, and serve.
You can also make a pitcher of daiquiris for a party. It's a little less classic but a whole lot easier if you’ve got a lot of people to serve and lack a full-time bartender. For 8 drinks, up to two hours before the party, pour 2 cups rum, 1 cup freshly squeezed lime juice, and ½ cup simple syrup into a pitcher and stir well. Chill until serving time. Five to 10 minutes before serving, stir in 2 cups ice. Pour into glasses, garnish each with a lime wheel, and serve.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 173