The Classic Way To Mix A Daiquiri Doesn't Involve A Blender

If you've never had a classic daiquiri made sans blender, you are missing out on one of the cocktail world's most elegant creations. While we won't bash the fun of a good frozen daiquiri, certain versions of the drink may tarnish its reputation. Some know the daiquiri the same way they know cheap mai tais and pina coladas, as those overly sweet drinks from big plastic jugs of mixers, usually tossed in a blender with ice and turned into an adult snow cone. Ice really does play a big part in mixing a daiquiri the original way, but it doesn't take a machine and cupfuls of ice to work.

Like many early cocktails, a daiquiri is a simple drink, requiring only white rum, lime juice, sugar, and ice. The classic way to make the drink is the same as its cousins, Tom Collins and a margarita: using a cocktail shaker. The ice is used to blend the drink, but only by being dropped in the cocktail shaker as an agitator that cools the drink. Daiquiris are then strained and traditionally served in coupes. The ice is not incidental to this; it's essential for getting a daiquiri's smooth texture and bright flavor, which comes from the reaction between the ice and other ingredients when you shake it all together.

Shaking a daiquiri aerates and emulsifies the cocktail

Insisting on shaking to make a daiquiri may seem fussy, but there is a lot at work when you do it that really transforms the ingredients. A proper daiquiri has a light, almost pillowy smooth texture and a frothy topping of bubbles. This happens through aeration and emulsification. Aeration is just the incorporation of air into the drink, which happens from shaking it and agitating it with the ice. It's simple, but it adds volume to your drink and gives it a luxurious feel. It also affects the flavor of the drink — daiquiris are meant to be refreshing, and giving them more volume through shaking helps lighten up the taste.

The other process, emulsification, is how the liquids combine into a smooth, uniform drink. Shaking the rum and lime juice with ice breaks them up and causes them to homogenize into one liquid. There is also a change in texture, which gives the drink more body. Lastly, the water in the ice dilutes the alcohol a bit, making it more drinkable. Since daiquiris are served straight up and not on the rocks, they get a long shake that should fully chill the drink. Mixology really is science, and the daiquiri is proof that technique can make a big difference in a drink.