Before I got serious about cocktails, there were two primary associations I’d have made had you uttered the words “Strawberry Daiquiri’’ to me. The first thing that would have come to mind is a neon-red chemical concoction, bottled in something plastic and Costco-sized, with a 90s-era graphic font on the label, being poured into some kind of industrial machinery where it would freeze and transform into a sugar slush full of future hangover.
The second would have been the “Girl Drink Drunk” sketch from Kids In The Hall. A very dark and very funny riff on the film The Days of Wine and Roses that depicts Dave Foley as a bright-eyed, bushy-tailed, teetotaling, newly promoted business VP being corrupted by his boss (Kevin McDonald) via delectable “girl drinks.” This, of course, initiates his downward spiral into an alcohol addiction that can only be sated by elaborate, time-consuming, fruity concoctions, replete with multiple ingredients and festive garnishes. At one point, he instructs his boss on how to make him a “Squash Strawberry Alleycat”:
Kevin: Gee, Ray I… don’t think I know that one.
Dave: Well it’s really quite simple, Russ. You simply take twelve large strawberries chopped, three ounces of dark rum and a…
Kevin: Good God.
Dave: …a splash of creme de menthe…shake gently and pour.
And while this strawberry daiquiri-esque cocktail is made more virtuous by its use of fresh strawberries, this process seems to be no less arduous and mystifying than making the neon-red slush. (In any case, you should really watch the skit if you haven’t seen it already.)
The real, original daiquiri is neither lab-created nor boasting a table of contents of ingredients. In actuality, it’s a powerhouse of the three-ingredient genre: lime juice, sugar, rum. So simple. So divine. It really has nothing to hide behind, and this is where it can seem deceptively easy to execute. But the daiquiri to any skilled bartender is what the omelet is to any skilled chef. When you experience one that’s made with quality rum and fresh juice, and shaken with a big rock of ice and strained into a chilled coupe, you might be inclined to get what the whole craft-cocktail fuss is about, at its heart. Add to that fresh seasonal muddled strawberries, and you, like I am right now, might even find yourself chef’s kissing the air just thinking about it.
But of course, I’ve already told you how I feel about shaken-up cocktails, if I’m the one obliged to make them for myself. So here is a modified, but no less enjoyable version of this very tasty drink, which I expect will be my go-to this summer. Instead of shaking it up and straining into a coupe, I like to strain it over cracked ice, which lessens the shake time and amount of physical labor. As always, treat this as a template, and don’t be deterred if you find yourself needing to improvise. Swap strawberries for raspberries, or muddle in two sugar cubes, or a tablespoon of sugar, if you can’t be bothered to make simple syrup. Try it with dark rum, if you don’t have light, etc.
- 1-2 strawberries, sliced
- 1 ounce fresh lime juice
- ¾ ounce simple syrup
- 2 ounces light rum
Place strawberry slices in a shaker and muddle. Add other ingredients, fill the shaker with ice, shake quickly and strain over fresh ice (cracked if possible) in a chilled rocks glass.
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