A Post Revisited: Why is the Classic Daiquiri so Hard to Find in the Upper Midwest?

A recent spate of Facebook postings about "classic" drinks got me thinking about how frustrated I am whenever I order a daiquiri. I rarely drink them in winter, but I might. I might. 

So why not share a true classic with you, just in time for the holidays. Because lime is great anytime of year.

From 2008:

My mother always told me the daiquiri was the classic ladylike drink for summer.

I took that to heart, and for years the daiquiri was my favorite summer drink. It fell out of fashion for a year or so when I favored rum and coke and receded some years later when I discovered sangria.

But like an old friend, the daiquiri keeps coming back and no birthday is complete for me without a daiquiri.

Only I've found the classic daiquiri is getting hard to find. These days when you order one, you are generally asked what flavor.

Classic, please, I respond. The bartender stares at me.

"I want a plain daiquiri. You know, one made with lime," I say.

The bartender consults with a coworker and eventually I get something approximating a classic daiquiri. Often it misses the mark.

The Purist's Daiquiri

• 1 1/2 oz light rum
• Juice of 1/2 lime
• 1 tsp powdered sugar

Pour ingredients into a shaker filled with ice. Shake. Strain. Pour.

It doesn't get any easier.

Yeas ago, a boyfriend asked me if I wanted a banana daiquiri. No thanks, I said. I tried a strawberry daiquiri once. Never again.

Thank goodness I married a purist.

Postscript (2013): Two years ago I finally had my second strawberry daiquiri. It was spring and I was feeling open minded. Not bad, but no classic.

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Breadchick Mary said…
You know I think it depends on where you live. I don't have a problem finding them on the East Coast. In fact I have a harder time finding the "frozen" variety, thankfully.

But I know how hard it is to find some of the classic drinks when I go home. Thankfully I have the recipes for a sidecar, a moulin rouge and a manhattan in my head!
So it's your birthday, eh? Here's to many more, Mimi!
A moulin rouge, Mary? I've never had one. I have been deprived.

Thanks, Lucy! We had a wonderful dinner out at a place along the shore - watched sailboats (literally re sails in the sunset), ordered a bottle of berrylike wine with a cherry-vanilla finish and ate French pepper steak.
Annette said…
I'm ashamed to admit it, but I would have been one of those people that looked at you with a blank stare. I've only known of the frozen daiquiris. I've never cared for them - yours sounds much better.
Annette, I can drink a classic or a frozen daiquiri and enjoy them both.

And usually, I am not such a purist. But I draw the line with my daiquiris!
Eileen said…
I too have only had the frozen daiquiri, your recipe sounds very good though. I usually go for a gin and tonic during the summer.
Ooh, it's been way too long since I had a gin and tonic, Eileen. Maybe this weekend?
Judy said…
Hi Mimi. I love the traditional drinks too. They make so many "flavors" now, frozen and otherwise. Keep it simple and pure for me too. I haven't had a daiquiri in a while, I may have to make one (or two) this weekend.
And Happy Birthday!!
Thanks, Judy! It seems that everything is appearing in new flavors these days. I like lime in my soda, but I draw the line at banana in my daiquiri.
Christine said…
Happy birthday, Mimi! I love your simple daiquiri and that photo is beautiful.
Thanks, Christine! I will be in you state over the weekend!
Anonymous said…
Now that sounds good to me! I've been on a rose' kick, but a lime daiquiri sounds so refreshing!
toni said…
I haven't had a daiquiri in a gagillion years! Back when I started drinking them, there were only classic ones. The strawberry invasion started later.

Much belated happy birthday, Mimi! I was away for a while and am just getting back into the swing of things. May you drink many, many more daiquiris in years to come!
lady jicky said…
Happy Birthday Mimi!
I like your daiquiri and must try it. I am not a big fan of those mountains of frozen crushed ice drinks. I get a shocking headache.
Cheers to you Mimi , I hope you had a great birthday!
Julie said…
My husband, who's usually much more of a beer drinker than a cocktail drinker, once ordered a Manhattan which had been his late father's favorite drink. There was a lengthy consultation between first two, then three of the twenty-something bartenders. They ended up asking him how to make it.

Perhaps you could carry the classic daiquiri recipe with you and hand it out as needed, which will not only get you a properly made daiquiri but will increase the repertoire of young bartenders.

You'd be sort of like Johnny Appleseed. But with daiquiris. :)
Julie said…
I almost forgot: Happy Birthday, Mimi!
Dear Sara, Toni, Lady Jicky and Julie: Thank you for your responses. I've been out of town for a few days - I created a post that would appear while I was gone but it got goofed up somehow and never published.

I will be back with a few tales of California wine country once I download my photos.
Charles said…
Ahh, Mimi. I've noticed the same trend. It seems like anything that goes into a cone-shaped glass these days can be called a "martini".
Lisa said…
I so agree about how hard it is to find a "regular" one! I haven't even tried since receiving a frozen strawberry daiquiri at a bar after having ordered "a daiquiri." I took the strawberry thing up to the bartender and told him he'd made me the wrong thing; he looked accusingly at me and said, "You ordered a daiquiri!" I knew there was no reasoning with him, so I took back the strawberry drink.

We made real daiquiris for an Oscar party one year, and people were gaga over them. Hadn't had them before.

Think I'm going to have to make them this weekend now!
I agree Charles! I've noticed that trend.

Lisa, that is exactly what I mean!
Mary said…
I love reading your cooking blog and am delighted to see it also encompasses wine and cocktails. I love all of the French recipes. I will need to try some!
When you have the pleasure of visiting San Francisco, you will find the PERFECT classic daquiri at the Iron Horse Restaurant on Maiden Lane. The bartender was an old pro, never asks "what flavor" and produces a nectar of the gods. The PERFECT classic daquiri, as only an old pro can. I always end a day of Christmas shopping at The Iron Horse and the fabulous daquiri they make there.
Mary, thank you! ZSo glad to have you onboard!

California Native, I will keep that in mind! I was just in SF briefly, but expect to be back again soon. Thank you!
Anonymous said…
I have always heard that a daiquiri was one of the classic cocktails. It is my favorite but finding a place that will make one is nearly impossible. It is so easy to make but the bartenders just say they don't make them. What gives?
Howland Owl said…
I live on the East Coast and have a devil of a time trying to get someone to understand what I want when I order a diaquiri. Sometimes I have to give them directions (NO salt on the rim!). And this was President Kennedy's favorite cocktail!

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