Classic Daiquiri Recipe - How to Make This Rum Cocktail

A favorite of the author Ernest Hemingway, the classic daiquiri is a perfect balance of sweet and sour complementing its rum base. Tracing its roots back to the small mining town of Daiquiri near Santiago de Cuba, it’s an essential classic cocktail recipe that every mixologist has to master.

Unlike its frozen, fruit-laden, often sickly sweet cousins that dominate beach resorts, the classic daiquiri is elegantly straightforward and consists of just three ingredients. Let's explore the allure of this classic cocktail and learn how to craft the perfect daiquiri.

classic daiquiri cocktail on a black tray, with lime wheels and a cocktail shaker next to it

Daiquiri Ingredients

A well-prepared daiquiri is an exercise in minimalism. It’s about showcasing the rum, not masking it. The ingredients are few, but each plays a crucial role in building the cocktail's flavor. Who’d have thought combining rum, lime and simple syrup could create such a ravishingly delicious drink yet here we are - singing its praises.

  • 2 oz White Rum

This is the soul of the drink. A good-quality white rum is essential, offering a clean, crisp base without overpowering the other flavors. Lately I’ve been enjoying Plantation 3 Stars in my daiquiris, but Bacardi White Rum also works too.

  • 1 oz Fresh Lime Juice

Freshly squeezed lime juice is non-negotiable. It provides the necessary acidity and brightness that cuts through the sweetness.

  • 3/4 oz Simple Syrup

To balance the tartness of the lime juice, simple syrup adds just the right amount of sweetness without complicating the drink’s flavor profile. Don’t have simple syrup? You can use sugar instead but I’d recommend a superfine or caster sugar because regular granulated sugar doesn’t dissolve very well.

  • Ice
  • A lime wheel or lime wedge for garnish

Optional, although your drink will look quite lonely without one.

How to Make a Daiquiri

1. Prepare Your Glass:

Begin by chilling your cocktail glass. You can do this by placing it in the freezer for a few minutes or filling it with ice while you prepare the drink.

2. Measure Ingredients, and add them to your shaker:

Using a jigger, measure 2 ounces of white rum, 1 ounce of fresh lime juice, and 3/4 ounce of simple syrup. The order you add them in doesn’t matter because it’ll all be shaken up.

3. Add Ice:

Fill the shaker with a generous amount of ice.

5. Shake:

Seal the shaker and shake vigorously for about 10-15 seconds. The shaking process chills and mixes the ingredients thoroughly.

6. Strain:

Strain the mixture into the chilled cocktail glass. The drink should be smooth and frothy.

7. Garnish and Serve:

Optionally, garnish with a lime wheel or wedge. Serve immediately and enjoy the refreshing, balanced flavors of your classic cocktail.

two daiquiri cocktails with lime wheel wedges, on a white table with a black background

Variations of Daiquiri

While the classic daiquiri is a masterpiece in its own right, it also serves as a canvas for experimentation. Bartenders have come up with some interesting twists over the years:

  • Hemingway Daiquiri: This is one for those who prefer less sweetness -  it includes grapefruit juice and maraschino liqueur.
  • Frozen Daiquiri: Blended with ice. We’ve probably all had one. Often decried as not a “real cocktail” but let’s be honest - nothing beats a frozen daiquiri on a hot summer’s day.
  • Flavored Daiquiris: Sticking with the base of the classic, just add 1 oz of your favorite fruit puree to give it a playfully fruity kick.

Other Cocktails Similar to a Daiquiri

If you’re a fan of daiquiris, you might also enjoy other rum-based sweet and sour cocktails.

  • Mojito: A refreshing mix of rum, mint, lime, sugar, and soda water.
  • Cuba Libre: A simple yet satisfying blend of rum, cola, and a dash of lime.
  • Caipirinha: Although made with cachaça, not rum, this Brazilian cocktail shares the lime and sugar profile of a daiquiri.


The classic daiquiri is a simple yet profound melody of flavors - the robustness of rum, the tartness of lime, and the sweetness of sugar. Whether you're a seasoned mixologist or a casual cocktail enthusiast, mastering this recipe opens up a world of rum-based adventures. As Ernest Hemingway once mused about the now-famous drink: “It shouldn’t taste of rum, it shouldn’t taste of lime and it shouldn’t taste of sugar. It should just taste of daiquiri.” If it’s good enough for Hemingway, who are we to argue?

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