Cool Summer Cocktails Series – Daiquiris and a Tale from the Brennan Family
“The cocktails are very serious here, ladies, and we take cocktails seriously,” Ti Adelaide Martin had barely sat down before she pronounced this to fellow food writer, Nancie McDermott and me, when we joined her for lunch a couple of summers ago at famed New Orleans restaurant, Commander’s Palace, where she’s general manager along with her cousin, Lally Brennan. So seriously, in fact, that she and Lally dubbed themselves The Cocktail Chicks, as authors of their guide and homage to cocktails In the Land of Cocktails: Recipes and Adventures from the Cocktail Chicks.
“Most people – the reason that people drink wine now, is because cocktails are horrible, ’cause nobody knows how to make a cocktail properly.”
“But cocktails have had a real revival in the last couple of years,” I piped in.
“Yeah, in the last couple of years. But most places you go, you get a horrible cocktail, so that’s why you just say give me a glass of wine. I’m not gonna drink this – whatever – this stupid drink you have.”
Okay, I’ll admit it. I’m one of those wine loving, late-coming to the cocktail game, types.
And Ms. Martin’s favorite drink? The Daiquiri- “a real Daiquiri” she adds,”invented in Daiquiri, Cuba.”
“So here’s a story,” she continued. “It’s just lime juice, rum and sugar, that’s all there is. But it has to be in perfect proportions, it has to be exactly right, you know, and not too sweet. So my mom and my uncle (the legendary Ella and Owen Brennan, of the Brennan restaurant family), they loved them, even back then. They used to go to Cuba all the time – like we go to Florida. They used to say, why can’t we make a Daiquiri exactly like they make in Cuba. So first they would bring home the ice – no, that’s not it. Then they would bring home the lime – well, that’s not it. Then they would try to bring home the rum…”
Well, presumably, they did eventually get it just right. Ti Adelaide writes in the book, “The first time I had a Daiquiri, it was as mind-boggling as the first time I had quality sushi, which tasted pure, clean, and like the sea. I couldn’t get enough. I’ve had the same problem with Daiquiris.”
If you’d like to try your hand at getting those proportions just right here’s a recipe from Ms. Martin and Lally Brennan, general managers of Commander’s Palace.
The Original Daquiri
Adapted from In the Land of Cocktails: Recipes and Adventures from the Cocktail Chicks by Ti Adelaide Martin and Lally Brennan
Ti Adelaide adds, this is a perfect drink- not a piece of candy or a fruit bomb. And it’ s no girly drink, either. It was a favorite of Ernest Hemingway and John F. Kennedy.
- 2 lime wedges, or more as needed
- 1 sugar cube
- 1 1/2 ounce light rum*
- @ 1 tablespoon Simple Syrup, optional
- Muddle the limes and sugar cube in a rock glass to break down the sugar and lime.
- Add the rum and stir well.
- Adjust with a little Simple Syrup, after tasting, as needed.
- Add ice (Ti Adelaide recommends crushed, but never blended) to fill the glass to the rim and serve.
* I used Banks Rum, quite a high quality rum with a great flavor, a bottle of which was generously given to IFBC NOLA bloggers that summer.