In the height of summer, few things finish off a day and complement a beautiful sunset quite as well as a freshly made, sweet and tangy strawberry daiquiri. Whether you choose to make yours a virgin cocktail or one with a bit of a grown-up kick is, in the end, not all that important: both variations are equally as tasty. To help you to enjoy the perfect summer sundowners, I’ve sorted through myriad recipes and trawled my own experience to bring you this list of 9 steps to a delicious home made daiquiri.
1. Chill the Glasses
To begin with, before you even start putting the cocktail together, fill as many glasses as you think you will need to the brim with iced water and place these in the fridge. This will ensure the ice in the cocktails stays crisp and cold for longer once you have served your drinks.
2. Crush Your Ice
There is a lot of controversy around whether or not authentic daiquiris should be made with blended ice – like a frozen margarita – or with larger chunks of hand crushed ice so the drink has a more liquid consistency. While I am actually a fan of the so-called ‘fake’ blender variations, it can be quite difficult to mill the ice finely enough with an ordinary kitchen processor. To counter this, make sure you have plenty of crushed ice to work with; buy it in a large bag and, without emptying it, get to work bashing it up (on a solid, durable surface) using a blunt instrument of the appropriate size.
3. Hull and Halve Your Strawberries
You can use either fresh or frozen strawberries in a daiquiri. Obviously, if you’re going for the latter, you won’t need to slice them up; simply put them in the blender and pulse until you have a fruity, icy pulp. If you do go for fresh, wash the fruit thoroughly before removing all leaves and carving out the white flesh around the stem.
4. Squeeze Your Own Fresh Lime Juice
While bottled lime juice is readily available, it is rarely as tasty as juice you’ve squeezed yourself from fresh limes. If you can’t get hold of limes – perhaps they’re out of stock or out of season – you can substitute with lemons, but these tend to be sweeter and you won’t get the same tang from your cocktail.
5. Sugar Syrup
You can either buy simple sugar syrup from the shops, or you can make it yourself. Bring two cups of cold tap water to the boil, add ordinary granulated sugar and simmer until this has completely dissolved. Alternatively, you can just use fine castor sugar – I tend to go for this option since it’s the easy, effective and fuss free.
You can use a cocktail shaker rather than a blender if you like, but if you are making daiquiris for a lot of people, it is much easier to process the whole batch of cocktails all together. Load your blender or food processor with the crushed ice, strawberries, limejuice and either simple syrup or castor sugar.
To the as-yet unblended mix of ingredients, add a dose of rum – obviously, if you are making a virgin daiquiri, you should leave this step out. Whether or not you use light or dark rum depends very much on how sweet you want your drink to be. The dark variations contain hints of molasses and so will contribute to a sugary flavour, while white spirits tend to have a sharper, cleaner taste.
Pulse your ingredients together in the blender until the drink is a rich dark pink and you can’t see any large chunks of un-milled ice. The consistency should be thick and smooth; if it’s too runny, add a little more crushed ice.
Tip the iced water out of your chilling glasses, pour in the daiquiri, garnish with a wedge of pineapple and a little umbrella, and sit back, relax and enjoy. Yum.
Daiquiris are widely variable cocktails; some are serves as dessert drinks with a swirl of cream on top, some include strawberry liqueur along with the traditional white rum, and some are made with no ice at all. Use this list of 9 steps to a delicious home-made daiquiri as a kind of template, and feel free to alter the recipe to suit your own tastes. Do you have any suggestions to add?
Top Photo Credit: Pink Sherbet Photography