What Does the Mistranslated Daiquiri #4 Taste Like?
This is the mistranslated Daiquiri #4 recipe from the Bar La Florida cocktail book. Even though the English translation swapped the lime juice for lemon, it’s still a fabulous cocktail and my favorite of the numbered daiquiri variations from Bar La Florida. The lemon and maraschino liqueur combine perfectly and make a fantastic sour cocktail.
The History Of the Daiquiri
The common history of the Daiquiri was invented in late 1800 by the American miner Jennings Cox. Cox was a manager at the Daiquiri mines in Santiago, Cuba. Some put the creation of the daiquiri around 1905, but regardless it’s often thought to have been invented during that range. Who knows if this is true or not? Even the most academic articles I can find on Caribbean cocktails put an asterisk on this statement and say it is just the story that has survived through the years.
We can definitively say the Daiquiri’s first published appearances came around 1913. The earliest Daiquiri recipe comes from the 1913 cocktail book “Straub’s Manual” by Jacques Straub. The recipe is actually pretty awful, but it is the oldest. It’s 2 oz lime juice, 1 oz rum, and a tsp of sugar. Interestingly the daiquiri is spelled with a “g” instead of a “q” as daiguiri. Every American cocktail book until prohibition spells it this way, and any news article mentioning the daiquiri mines spells it this way too. The Daiquiri mines were an important topic during the lead-up to the Spanish-American war, and all of the journalism from this time spelled it with a “g” too. It’s not too surprising it was misspelled, though. This was the start of yellow journalism, and most national news leading up to the Spanish-American war was not concerned with accuracy. The best early recipe for the daiquiri comes from the 1914 U.S. Navy Standard Publication. A periodical by the U.S. Navy mentions the Daiquiri as the latest in cocktail clubdom. They also spelled it correctly. The recipe they provide is a pony of rum, the juice of half a lime or lemon, and a little bit of sugar. Generally, half a lime provides 1/2 oz of juice, and I’ll take a little bit of sugar to be either a tsp or 1/3 of an oz, but they were not trying to be precise.
In the 1931 book “Cuban Cookery” by Blanche de Baralt, the author states that cocktails were not part of the culture in Cuba before the Spanish-American War. American-style cocktails were first brought there by the soldiers stationed there and the tourist that soon followed. Enamored with the high-quality rum and juices available on the island, many new Cuban cocktails were invented. She specifically calls out the Daiquiri. Baralt provides an alternative origin for the Daiquiri that sounds more accurate. She states the U.S. Naval Officers stationed in Guantanamo Bay made the drink on base and named it after the nearby mining town. This makes much more sense to me, and it would also explain why one of the earliest records of the daiquiri comes from a U.S. Naval publication and that they are the only ones to spell it correctly for decades.
Most people probably know the recipe from the two main cocktail books to come out of Cuba in the 1930s. Sloppy Joe’s and Bar La Florida. Sloppy Joe’s recipe is more on the sour end with a whole ounce of lime juice, but Bar La Florida’s recipe is identical to the U.S. Navy recipe. A comment brought this to my attention, but the Bar La Florida cocktail book is mistranslated. The Bar La Florida cocktail book has Spanish on the left and English on the right; in every place, limes are mentioned, and the English side says lemons. The book uses the older term for limes, limón verde, but the English translation says lemons. Just keep that in mind when looking at recipes in that book.
2 thoughts on “Daiquiri No.4 – The Mistranslated Recipe”
It’s always nice to see the Daiquiris No. 2 through 5 mentioned, as those are rarely known by the drinking public.
A few small things though:
It seems you took the recipe from the faulty english translation of Constante’s book. Though im sure this makes for a tasty drink, there are certainly no lemons in any Cuban-made Daiquiri, that would be lime. I’m fairly certain that lemons would not even have been available in Cuba at that time. The original spanish recipe calls for “limón verde”, which translates to “Lime”. This is a common error with translations from spanish sadly.
Also traditionally cuban cantineros use granulated sugar rather than syrup. Not that it makes a huge difference, other than adding a bit of texture, but since you claim to use the original 1930’s recipe, any changes to it should be mentioned at least.
That is absolutely wonderful to know. Thank you! I will seek out these Spanish versions and adjust the recipes.
You’re right about making a note about the change from granulated sugar to simple syrup. I’ve done that with every recipe on this site that uses sugar. I tried to keep it equivalent so the sweetness would be the same. That was originally done because when I first added most of these recipes it was to a mobile app where each ingredient was a clickable item that could be saved to a database that changed what drinks the app told you that you could make. I made the choice that it would be too confusing to have two separate items for sugar and simple syrup. I tried writing exceptions where having sugar also meant you had simple syrup too but it ended up getting a bit too clunky. Because of that choice I’ve been a bit hesitant to do cocktails with unique ingredients like vanilla syrup or something because I don’t end up just writing the words but I have to build an entire object that represents vanilla syrup and take photos, write articles, etc. that not an issue on the website but in the mobile app that’s a thing. Very long winded explanation for why I made that sugar to syrup change lol.
I’ve been going back and rewriting my older articles and when there are changes like that I will write the original recipe line for line in one of the paragraphs above . Even though I started this website around a year ago I published most of these around 4 years ago in a mobile app. I’ll update these ones soon and I will look for the Spanish book too. Thanks again!