What’s cookin’: Back to Basics: Cox’s Daiquiri

Guest post by Amanda Moreno, CHC Processing Assistant

When you think of Cuban cocktails, your mind might wander to the minty mojito or the fresh fizz of a well-made Cuba Libre, but what could be more Cuban than the sweet yet sour kick of the original daiquirí? A favorite among Cuba’s classic drinks, the origin story of the daiquiri rivals that of its older sibling the mojito, sans blistering pirates’ rum. [1]

In 1898, Jennings S. Cox led a group of U.S. mining engineers to Daiquirí, a mining town near Santiago, on an expedition to develop copper mines after the Spanish American War. During his time in Cuba, Cox “experimented” with Bacardi rum, blending lemon juice, sugar, water and ice with Bacardi Carta Blanca to create the now-famous drink named after the small Cuban town where he worked: the Daiquiri. [2] The recipe became popularized by the continued presence of American military and business interests in Cuba, with U.S. Navy Admiral Lucius Johnson introducing the daiquiri to Washington at the Army-Navy Club in 1909. [3]

You can recreate Cox’s original recipe, shown below, or try your luck with recipes from Havana’s famous El Floridita, a bar known as much for its drinks as for its infamous patrons (Ernest Hemingway was a regular, and was known to take his daiquiris with minimal sugar and double the rum).

Daiquirí Number Two [4]

2 ounces Bacardí rum.
Several dashes Curacao.
1 teaspoonful orange juice.
1 teaspoonful sugar.
Juice of half a lemon.
Cracked ice.
Shake well and strain into cocktail glass.

 Daiquiri Maidique Style [5]

2 ounces Bacardí rum.
1 spoonful sugar.
1 teaspoonful grape fruit juice.
1 teaspoonful maraschino.
Juice of half a lemon.
Shake well and strain into cocktail glass. Serve frappe.


[1] The mojito’s predecessor was a rough aguardiente concoction, “El Draque,” invented in 1586 and named after an English privateer.

[2] Sidney Maran, The World of Bacardi-Martini, Bermuda: Bacardi Ltd., 2000, 60.

[3] “Happy Birthday, Mr. Daiquiri,” Museum of the American Cocktail press release, Oct. 16, 2009, http://ajiggerofblog.com/2009/10/16/upcoming-seminar-happy-birthday-mr-daiquiri/, accessed March 7, 2013.

[4] “Bar La Florida Cocktails,” Havana, Cuba.

[5] “Bar La Florida Cocktails.”

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