Food & Drink

6 Easy Daiquiri Upgrades

Jamie Grill

A well-made Daiquiri is the simplest of cocktails: rum, lime, sugar. That’s it. Many have referred to it as the omelet of cocktails—a basic cocktail that tests a bartender’s skills. It is refreshing, tart, sweet—it is everything you could want a drink to be. And yet, it could be better. There are, of course, variations like the Frozen Strawberry Daiquiri, which are almost entirely different cocktails. But there are also small tweaks or additions that can make a basic Daiquiri sing. Here are six to try.

Add a little rhum agricole

Funky, grassy rhum agricole, if used sparingly, can give some lovely depth to your Daiquiri. You may find Daiquiri versions at the bar that split the rums half and half or even use all rhum agricole, but subbing in even just a quarter ounce will make you sit up and notice.

Add bitters

As long as we’re on the topic of experimenting with the Daiquiri’s traditional sweet and citrus flavors, a dash of bitters makes for an interesting change as well. It’s not a common practice and some Daiquiri purists object, but when we talked to Erbin Garcia of LA’s Caña Rum Bar, he liked the way it dried the drink out and we like the change up too.

Add a fruit liqueur

You could go full Papa Hemingway and use Maraschino and grapefruit juice to make his preferred version of the Daiquiri, but you could also swap out just a quarter of ounce of syrup for a variety of quality tropical fruit liqueurs to add a bit of a tiki feel to the classic. Giffard’s pineapple or passion fruit liqueurs work wonderfully.

Shake it harder

Don’t underestimate the value of a little bit of texture in your drinks. A more vigorous shake will end up giving your daiquiri a bit of a frothy head, which just adds to the light, refreshing nature of the cocktail.

Use ultra-fresh-squeezed juice

As long as they still sell bottled citrus juice at the grocery store, it’s impossible for us to say this enough: Fresh citrus is your cocktail’s best friend. It only takes an extra 20 seconds to squeeze a couple limes rather than using a bottle you got at the store, and if you do, the bright, tart flavors will practically explode out of the glass.

Swap sugar for a sweet fruit

Adding fresh fruit to a small amount of simple syrup can give you extra flavor while still giving you the sweetness you need. Try muddling a big slice of mango or four or five strawberries and drop the syrup to just a quarter ounce. Just remember that the fruit has to be quite ripe and juicy or it will be too tart and tough to muddle.