Ernest Hemingway is a household name. And that does not only concern his talent in writing novels. His name also comes up regularly when talking about liquor and cocktails.
Hemingway rarely turned down a drink. So it's not surprising that while living in Havana, Ernest Hemingway had quite a few Daiquiris.
And one day, when he visited one of his favorite bars, a special version of the drink was born - the Hemingway Daiquiri.
Besides Rum, lime, and sugar syrup, the unusual recipe features grapefruit juice and Maraschino liqueur. That, at first, may seem strange. But knowing Hemingway and his passion for bone dry drinks, the formula certainly does make sense.
Find out more about this intriguing story and why you should adjust the original recipe to enjoy Hemingway's creation best.
History of the Hemingway Special Daiquiri
During his time in Havana, Ernest Hemingway made quite some friends in the capital of Cuba. He also had a couple of favorite bars where he would enjoy himself.
One of them is Bodeguita del Medio, a well-known bar in central Havana, still open these days. And the other isn't any less famous - El Floridita.
The drinks roots lie at El Floridita
The bar, sometimes also called La Floridita, plays a vital part in cocktail history. If you ever have the chance to visit this gem, do not hesitate.
Of course, as you can imagine, the bar has become a pretty touristy place in the past decades. However, nonetheless, it is still full of history. And it was there that the Hemingway Daiquiri got created for the very first time.
How was the Hemingway Daiquiri invented?
The story goes that Hemingway was wandering around in search of a toilet.
When he entered El Floridita to relieve himself, he couldn't turn down the opportunity to have a drink. He tried their popular frozen Daiquiri and replied:
"That's good, but I prefer it with no sugar and double the Rum."Ernest Hemingway
And so, the original version of the Hemingway Daiquiri was born.
The head barkeeper Constantino Ribalaigua Vert mixed it for him. It was literally a Daiquiri without sugar but double the amount of Rum. Or let me translate that into "a lot of Rum with a splash of lime juice".
Hemingway certainly loved his drinks boozy. But you might wonder, why didn't he want sugar in them?
The answer is quite simple: Hemingway, like his father, suffered from Haemochromatosis. A disease that ultimately can lead to diabetes.
A modern version of the Hemingway Daiquiri
Sometime later, a new head barkeeper of the El Floridita, Antonia Meilan, changed the recipe by introducing Maraschino liqueur and grapefruit juice to the drink.
That created a way better-balanced drink compared to what Hemingway ordered in the first place. Today, most drinkers also prefer to include a bit of simple syrup to get a balance right.
Hemingway Special - Made with syrup or not?
I don't really recommend trying the original version of the drink, using only Rum and lime juice. That's only for legends like Hemingway 😉
Even the evolved recipe, which uses Maraschino liqueur and grapefruit juice, is not for everybody unless you prefer dry drinks. -It doesn't even help to choose the best Rum for the drink.
But palates are different, and if you want to give this traditional recipe a try, here it is - received directly from El Floridita:
TRADITIONAL HEMINGWAY DAIQUIRI RECIPE:
3 oz White Cuban Rum
1 oz Grapefruit juice
0.5 oz Lime juice
1 bsp Maraschino liqueur
For making the traditional version, all ingredients are mixed with crushed ice.
If you are like me and many others, this version will still be a bit too dry. Therefore, by adding just half an ounce of simple syrup, you can balance the drink and receive a way better flavor profile.
So if you ask me, go with the more modern interpretation of a Papa Doble.
Why the Hemingway Special Daiquiri is also called Papa Doble
I already introduced quite a few different names for the drink: Hemingway Special, Hemingway Daiquiri, Papa Doble, and sometimes it also gets called "El Floridita #4".
While most of the above are self-explanatory, Papa Doble is a bit of a mystery. But there's a good story about how this name was born.
I mentioned earlier that Hemingway was a welcome guest that made quite some friends in Havana.
At one point, Cubans lovingly started calling him Papa, and his cocktail initially got the name "Daiquiri like Papa". A Daiquiri made just the way Ernest liked it.
Over the years, the name changed to Papa Doble, referring to the double amount of Rum in the drink. -An adjustment that makes much sense, to be honest.
Another few years later, after Antonia Meilan adjusted the recipe and added Maraschino & grapefruit, the drink was renamed again. It was now known as Hemingway Special or Hemingway Daiquiri.
I don't know about you, but I prefer Papa Doble. This name just carries the whole story so nicely. And is a more elegant reference compared to Hemingway Daiquiri.
- 3 oz Havana Club Rum 3 years
- 1 oz Pink grapefruit juice
- 1 oz Lime juice
- 0.75 oz Maraschino liqueur
- 0.5 oz Simple syrup
- Add all ingredients to your cocktail shaker with plenty of ice.3 oz Havana Club Rum 3 years, 1 oz Pink grapefruit juice, 1 oz Lime juice, 0.75 oz Maraschino liqueur, 0.5 oz Simple syrup
- Shake until the drink is well-chilled and strain into a chilled Martini glass.
- Garnish the cocktail with a Maraschino cherry and a lime wheel.