NOW LIVE: A Never Before Seen Interview with Sports Legend Michael Jordan

Ultimate Daiquiris

It is the simplest of drinks—rum, lime juice, simple syrup, shaken with rocks and strained—and yet the Daiquiri is always being complicated. Attempts to improve on the classic rum cocktail include making it into a slushy with crushed ice, forgoing lime in favor of bananas, strawberries, peaches, mangos, etc., and adding flavoring with grenadine, vermouth, maraschino juice, etc. These make fine drinks, but they aren't improvements on the classic.

We humbly submit a method to ameliorate the nearly perfect: use great rum. Most recipes specifically call for white rum, as if to say, "Don't waste your good stuff in a fruit drink." But the wisdom that the best ingredients make the best cocktails was never truer than when we tested an array of special rums to see if we could make this timeless Cuban concoction better. Richer spirits made startling synergies with lime and sugar that took us on flavor safaris we hadn't expected. All rums were mixed one and a half ounces to a half ounce of freshly squeezed lime, with four teaspoons of simple syrup prepared with two cups of granular sugar boiled in one cup of water.

Ron Zacapa Centenario 23 year old: The super-aged rum informed the Daiquiri with spice, vanilla, ginger, cinnamon and graham cracker.

Bacardi 8: Full of caramel, vanilla and licorice neat, it popped with kiwi, cinnamon and coconut when mixed.

Aniversario Pampero: For all its savory vanilla flavors, it created tropical fruit notes—mango, passion fruit, coconut—with the lime.

10 Cane: This was the lightest of the rums we tasted, so lime dominated, but other citrus flavors, as well as vanilla, cane and oils, showed.

Gosling's Gold: A new release from Gosling's, it made a mellow cocktail, smacking of maple sugar, mint and celery. We tried Gosling's classic Black Seal as well, but preferred Gold for a Daiquiri.

Montecristo: This 12-year-old made a savory drink with vanilla and ginger flavors out front and a fruity back palate of banana and orange.

Ron Flor de Cana Centenario 21: This Nicaraguan rum smacks of spices, especially ginger, with a soft molasses core in the cocktail.

Ron Barcelo Imperial Premium Blend: A very fruity drink, with oranges and strawberry up front, a vanilla core and a grass finish.

Ron Mathuselem Gran Reserva: Heady and rich, it had the coconut notes of a Pina Colada, as well as ginger spice and vanilla.

Mount Gay Extra Old: The straightforward vanilla rum showed graham cracker, molasses and oils in the cocktail.

Appleton Estate Reserve V/X: Its light fruit notes (apples and pears) morphed into pineapple and almond flavors.


More in Drinks Pairings

See all
Four Irish Whiskies to Pair With Your Next Cigar

Four Irish Whiskies to Pair With Your Next Cigar

The world of Irish whiskey has enjoyed a bit of a resurgence in recent years. We paired four standout …

Mar 17, 2020
Bonding with Bourbon

Bonding with Bourbon

We pair 16 outstanding Bourbons with cigars to demonstrate the classic American whiskey's affinity …

Mar 10, 2020
Pairing Laphroaig 16 With Cuban Cigars

Pairing Laphroaig 16 With Cuban Cigars

A Hoyo Epicure No. 2 and a Cohiba Siglo V go head-to-head with Laphroaig's new expression.

Dec 6, 2019
Cigar Pairing: Ommegang’s For The Throne Is Also For Your Cigar

Cigar Pairing: Ommegang’s For The Throne Is Also For Your Cigar

Just in time for Sunday’s season eight premiere, Ommegang and HBO have launched For The Throne, their …

Apr 12, 2019
Craigellachie’s Clever 33-Year-Old Scotch Commands A High Price

Craigellachie’s Clever 33-Year-Old Scotch Commands A High Price

How can a Scotch brand that’s only been around for six years suddenly offer a 33-year-old single malt …

Apr 5, 2019
Cigar Pairing: Dogfish Head The Perfect Disguise

Cigar Pairing: Dogfish Head The Perfect Disguise

Is it a Kölsch-style beer, or a Double IPA? This is the question Dogfish Head wants its fans to …

Mar 4, 2019