Sunday, July 19, 2015

Returning to Havana

We need to spend a little time discussing the daiquiri.  I'm sure everyone realizes that today, July 19, is National Daiquiri Day.  You've had it marked on your calendar for months.  I mentioned the daiquiri back in a prior post about the Old Cuban, one of the best “new” classic cocktails.  The daiquiri often gets a bad rap and brings to mind a frozen slushy sweet strawberry headache you once had on a cruise ship or in Cancun.  Maybe you like that sort of thing.  I won’t judge.  But that’s not really a daiquiri.  The daiquiri is one of the great classics of cocktail history.  It’s the perfect way to enjoy a good rum, and like all classics, it’s a simple combination of ingredients.  A classic daiquiri is merely rum with lime juice and a little sugar.  There are differences of opinion on which proportions of those ingredients makes the very best daiquiri, but it wouldn't really be a classic it that weren't the case.  A well-made daiquiri is bright, tart, refreshing and dangerously delicious.  What’s most interesting about the daiquiri are the legends and lore that go along with it.  It was famously the favorite drink of John F. Kennedy, for example.  And Ernest Hemingway will forever be associated with it, having his very own version named after him.  Legend has it that at one of his favorite local watering holes in Havana, Cuba, the Floridita, he enjoyed a less sweet variation of the daiquiri, which has a splash of grapefruit and substitutes the sugar for a little cherry liqueur.  He would often order a “double” and the drink thus came to be known as the “Papa Doble”, although more commonly referred to as the “Hemingway Daiquiri”.  Classically a daiquiri uses white rum, but I prefer mine with a well-aged rum for more complex flavors.  Here is my recipe for the “Havana Club Daiquiri” which uses one of the best tasting rums in the world.  It’s a Cuban rum, so technically not available in the US right now, but things are looking up these days on that front.

The Havana Club Daiquiri - don't ask me how I got that bottle ...

1 ½ oz Havana Club Rum (if you are American, try another aged rum such as Flor de Cana 7yr)
1 oz simple syrup
¾ oz fresh squeezed lime juice
Shake with ice, pour and serve.  Garnish with a lime wheel if you can hold off on drinking it for a moment.

The Havana's #3 by Eric Fuller

While sipping this heavenly potion, contemplate the Havana’s Box #3 from Eric Fuller.  Eric created a series of cigar puzzle boxes inspired by his local cigar bar and his deviously clever puzzle box imagination.  I discussed one of his other cigar boxes, the Havana’s #2, in the same prior post as the Old Cuban cocktail.  It took me quite a while to figure out how to open the Havana’s #3, which is apparently how he intended things, making each of the cigar box series more challenging.  He understands how we think and plays off of that, with tricks that stay hidden for so long because we think things should be working in a certain way, when they are not!  The Havana’s #3 is beautifully crafted in Sapele wood and either Birdseye Maple, Pink Ebony, or like my copy, Flame Maple, which has a lovely luster and shimmer.  The box has an excellent weight and smooth feel in your hands, and responds in ways which alert you that there is something tricky going on inside.  A few things happen while attempting to solve this puzzle that are surprising, and eventually misleading!  Which are signs of a truly well designed, well-crafted puzzle.  The Havana’s #3 box goes well with the Havana Club daiquiri, but you’ll probably run out of daiquiris before you solve this puzzle!

Happy Daiquiri Day!

For more about Eric Fuller:


  1. I played with the box at a Midlands Puzzle Party - I couldn't solve it and had to be shown. It's VERY clever!

    I don't actually own any rum - maybe I should find one? I don't think I can get the ones you mention here.


  2. Ask at your local store and they should be able to direct you to something good. There are so many!