The Hemingway Daiquiri is a tangy, tart, and sophisticated riff on the classic daiquiri! It’s perfect for whenever you’re craving a refreshing, easy cocktail for the spring or summertime.
If there’s one thing we can all agree on when it comes to Ernest Hemingway, it’s that the man knew how to drink! The Hemingway Daiquiri is a tart, citrusy cocktail that’s evolved a lot since its conception. What started as an extremely pared down rum sour made with just rum and lime juice is now an elegant, delicious classic cocktail that’s a far cry from the sugar-filled daiquiris you’ll find at a beach bar. So if you like bright, complex, and balanced cocktails, the Hemingway Daiquiri needs to be on your radar!
Hemingway Daiquiri quick facts
- Level of difficulty: Super easy! It’s a shaken cocktail served up (i.e. without ice), so anyone with a cocktail shaker can make it.
- Number of ingredients: Four unless you add the optional orgeat syrup, which I highly recommend, along with two optional garnishes.
- Main spirit(s): Rum.
- Season or occasion: Since it’s a variation on the classic daiquiri, it’s perfectly refreshing and bright for the spring and summer! I also love it for the beach since the citrus and rum give it a tropical flair.
- Type of cocktail: Classic cocktail.
The story behind the Hemingway Daiquiri
Ernest Hemingway started his love affair with the daiquiri at the El Floridita bar in Havana. As the story goes, he tried a sip of their classic frozen daiquiri made with rum, sugar, and citrus, and promptly asked for another with double the rum and without any sugar. Thus, the original Hemingway Daiquiri — also known as the Papa Doble or Hemingway Special — was born. And suffice it to say, this ain’t your mama’s sugary sweet daiquiri!
Since rum shaken with only lime juice isn’t necessarily for everyone, somewhere along the way grapefruit juice and maraschino liqueur were introduced to the cocktail to give it a little more depth and balance. Nowadays a lot of recipes also add a little bit of simple syrup to balance out the tartness of the cocktail. However you choose to drink it, it’s a tangy and flavorful cocktail that you’ll love if you’re a fan of daiquiris!
Ingredients in a Hemingway Daiquiri
When some people think of daiquiris, their minds immediately go to the frozen, cloyingly sweet drink you only have on cheat days or during vacation. However, the classic daiquiri is a simple but elegant shaken drink that’s traditionally made with just rum, sugar, and lime juice. The original Hemingway Daiquiri omits sugar entirely, and adds in tart grapefruit juice and bittersweet maraschino liqueur for a drier, more sour take on a classic daiquiri.
That said, many recipes still add a sweet element to balance out the tart flavors of the drink. In my own Hemingway Daiquiri recipe, I use orgeat almond syrup to give the drink a hint of sweetness. It’s optional, but the orgeat makes it SO GOOD, ya’ll. Otherwise I stay pretty true to the classic recipe, but with a few twists and tips that I think make the drink even better. Here’s what you need to make it!
- White rum
- Maraschino liqueur
- Lime juice
- Grapefruit juice
- Orgeat (optional)
- Lime wheel, for garnish (optional)
- Luxardo cherry, for garnish (optional)
The best rum for a daiquiri
Daiquiris are a fantastic vehicle for showcasing quality rum, and traditionally for a Hemingway Daiquiri you’d opt for a white rum to keep the cocktail light and fresh. I personally like to use an aged white rum to give it a little more complexity and flavor, but any white rum will work just fine and here are some of my favorite bottles!
- Denizen 3 Year Aged White Rum
- Flor de Caña Extra Dry 4 Year
- Don Q Cristal
- Bacardi Superior
All of these are great rums at a reasonable price point, and you should be able to easily find them at most liqueur stores. My go-to for daiquiris that I always end up circling back to is the Denizen 3 Year Aged White Rum because it’s super flavorful and has just a little bit of funkiness to it!
What to know about maraschino liqueur
Maraschino liqueur is a clear-colored liqueur made with Marasca cherries. It’s best known for adding bittersweet cherry and almond notes to cocktails like the Last Word and the Aviation, and is a crucial ingredient in the Hemingway Daiquiri that rounds out the drink with a touch of bittersweetness. Here’s what else to know about the cherry-flavored liqueur!
- What does maraschino liqueur taste like? Sweet and tart with notes of sour cherry, almond, vanilla, dark chocolate, and a nice alcohol burn at the finish. Since the pits of the cherry are added during fermentation, it also has a lightly bitter taste.
- Is maraschino liqueur the same as cherry liqueur? Nope! They’re totally different. Maraschino liqueur is clear in color and more dry and bittersweet, while cherry liqueur is deep red in color and more syrupy sweet.
- What’s the best maraschino liqueur? The gold standard of maraschino liqueurs is without a doubt Luxardo Maraschino Originale. You can find it at most liqueur stores, and a 750ml bottle costs about $42. This might sound a little pricy, but it’s a staple for any home bar and will last you a really long time since you only use a little bit at a time.
Use orgeat for creaminess and sweetness
While the original Hemingway Daiquiri doesn’t have any sugar added, modern recipes often add a sweetener like simple syrup to balance out the drink’s tartness. For me, I like to use orgeat instead of simple syrup to give the drink a lightly creamy, sweet, nutty taste that’s beyond delicious. It’s optional, but I highly recommend it because it really does make the drink that much better.
For those unfamiliar with orgeat, it’s a sweet almond-flavored syrup that’s typically made with almonds, sugar, and orange flower water. It’s most commonly used to add sweetness and creaminess to tropical cocktails like the Mai Tai and Trinidad Sour, so it works wonderfully in daiquiris and adds more flavor and nuance to the Hemingway Daiquiri than plain simple syrup. You can get orgeat at some cocktail specialty stores or liquor stores, or you can easily make it at home, which is what I do!
Hemingway Daiquiri tips and variations
Want to take the Hemingway Daiquiri to the next level? Here are some tips to make it even better along with fun variations on how to serve it!
Double strain it
Double straining (or fine straining) a cocktail prevents any ice shards or tiny pieces of ingredients from making it into the final cocktail. It improves the presentation of drinks since it stops tiny bits of ice from floating around in the cocktail, and ensures the cocktail doesn’t get overly diluted. In the Hemingway Daiquiri, it keeps out both ice shards and any citrus pulp or seeds.
It’s an easy technique that makes your cocktails look and taste that much more professional, and here’s a handy guide to show you exactly how to double strain a cocktail!
Use fresh fruit juice
While it’s tempting to use store-bought fruit juice, the drink tastes SO much better with freshly squeezed grapefruit and lime juice! It’s worth the extra effort, and then you’ll also have the actual fruit to use as a garnish or for another cocktail. You can juice the fruits with a citrus reamer, or squeeze the juice right into the jigger since any pulp or seeds will be double strained out.
Make it a frozen daiquiri!
For a more summery, lighthearted take on the cocktail, you can easily serve it as a frozen blended drink. Simply add in all the ingredients to a blender along with a small hand full of ice, and blend until smooth. Be sure to add only a little bit of ice at a time, since adding too much ice will dilute the drink’s flavor and give it an icy texture.
For a richer cocktail, use Demerara syrup and dark rum
For a richer, more modern take on the Hemingway Daiquiri, use Demerara syrup and dark Jamaican rum in place of the orgeat and white rum. Like simple syrup, Demerara syrup is made with a 1:1 ratio of water to sugar. The difference is it uses Demerara sugar instead of white sugar. So compared to normal simple syrup, Demerara syrup is richer, more flavorful, and has a thicker texture. Using Demerara syrup with a dark Jamaican rum, like Appleton Estate 12 Year Old, results in a darker, more sultry version of the Hemingway Daiquiri.
How to make a Hemingway Daiquiri
The Hemingway Daiquiri is a simple shaken cocktail served “up”, so it’s approachable for any home bartender and skill level. All you need is a cocktail shaker, cocktail strainer, fine mesh strainer, and serving glass. Here’s the step-by-step rundown on how to make it!
- Build the cocktail: Add the white rum, maraschino liqueur, grapefruit juice, lime juice, and orgeat or simple syrup if using to a cocktail shaker with ice.
- Shake and strain: Shake the ingredients until you feel the shaker get ice cold, then double strain the drink using a cocktail strainer and fine mesh strainer into a coupe glass.
- Garnish (optional): Garnish with a lime wheel and/or Luxardo cherry.
More refreshing cocktails
When it’s hot outside, nothing hits quite like a well-made, refreshing cocktail! My favorite spirits for warm weather are rum and gin, and here are a few more fun cocktails that are perfect for spring and summertime sipping.
- For another rum-based cocktail, try the Mai Tai! It’s perfectly tropical and a great excuse to break out your nicer bottles of rum.
- If you prefer gin, the Saturn is for you! It’s one of the few gin-based tropical cocktails, and is served as a frozen blended drink.
- Looking for another tart, citrusy, and spirit-forward cocktail? Check out my St Germain Lemon Basil Martini! It’s truly a garden party in a glass.
- 2 ounces white rum
- 3/4 ounce lime juice
- 1/2 ounce grapefruit juice
- 1/2 ounce maraschino liqueur
- 1/4 ounce orgeat syrup (optional)*
- Lime wheel, for garnish (optional)
- Luxardo cherry, for garnish (optional)
- Add the white rum, lime juice, grapefruit juice, maraschino liqueur, and orgeat or simple syrup if using to a cocktail shaker with a hand full of ice, and shake it until you feel the shaker get ice cold.**
- Double strain the cocktail using a cocktail strainer and fine mesh strainer into a coupe glass.
- Optional: garnish with a lime wheel and/or Luxardo cherry on a cocktail pick.
*While it's optional, I highly recommend adding orgeat almond syrup because it balances out the drink's tart flavors and makes it even more delicious. Here's a guide on how to make your own orgeat at home!
**To serve it as a frozen blended cocktail, add the ingredients with a small handful of ice at a time to a blender and blend until it reaches a smooth consistency.
***For a richer, more sultry variation on the Hemingway Daiquiri, swap out the white rum for a dark Jamaican rum like Appleton Estate 12 Year Old and the orgeat for Demerara syrup.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 1 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 237Total Fat: 0gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 4mgCarbohydrates: 23gFiber: 2gSugar: 12gProtein: 1g