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Monday, July 19, 2010

Daily TWiP - National Daiquiri Day

Week in Preview

Welcome to Daily TWiP, your daily dose of all the holidays, historical observances, etc., we couldn’t cram into The Week in Preview.

There are two ways in which you can imitate Ernest Hemingway: you can try to write like him or you can try his favorite cocktail, the daiquiri. Not only is the latter easier, it’s also more timely, as today (July 19) is National Daiquiri Day.

A standard daiquiri consists of rum, lime juice, and sugar, which are shaken with ice and strained into a chilled glass. The frozen version of the daiquiri, in which the beverage is blended with crushed ice, enjoys a significant amount of popularity, although some cocktail connoisseurs feel the addition of crushed ice detracts from the flavor and potency of the drink.

The invention of the daiquiri is traditionally credited to Jennings Cox, an mining engineer from America who was employed at the time in Daiquiri, Cuba. While hosting a party at his home in 1905, Cox is said to have run out of gin and mixed together rum, lime juice, and sugar to create a substitute beverage for his guests.

As is the case with many cocktails, the actual creation of the beverage may have preceded its official creation. The ingredients for the daiquiri are all staple products of Cuba, making it probable that locals were enjoying some variation of the beverage long before Cox’s cocktail party.

The daiquiri was introduced to the U.S. in 1909 by Admiral Lucius Johnson, who sampled it during his time in Cuba and apparently enjoyed it so much that he took the recipe home. The drink did not attract much attention until the 1940s, when most types of liquor were scarce due to wartime rationing but rum was plentiful because of Roosevelt’s Good Neighbor Policy, which encouraged trade with Latin America and the Caribbean.

The daiquiri ranked among the favorite cocktails of Ernest Hemingway, who maintained a residence in Cuba during the 1940s. He was a regular at El Floridita, where bartender Constante Ribailagua served Hemingway his first daiquiri. Hemingway is said to have enjoyed the beverage so much that he consumed 16 double daiquiris in a single sitting.

We suggest celebrating National Daiquiri Day a bit more responsibly. As a writer, Hemingway had the freedom to set his own hours and therefore didn’t have to worry about showing up at the office on time and working through a nasty hangover.

(Source: “History of Daiquiri” by Julie Sheppard,

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- Teresa Santoski