I’m so excited that A Time to Swill comes out next month! When my editor at Kensington and I decided to do a series based in a bar, I didn’t realize how much fun the research would be. I’m not just talking about visiting beach bars to get a feel for what the Sea Glass Saloon would be like – that was fun and I think ongoing research is necessary.
I bought a bunch of books about drinks and started researching drinks online. It’s been fascinating so I’m sharing a few tidbits today.
How did the word cocktail come about? One story goes (it’s the first one I read) that a woman in a bar used actual feathers from a rooster as stirrers if she ran out. But many disagree with that story. Here’s an article if you’re interested in the origin of the word.
To shake or not to shake? I was reading about gin and found out if it’s shaken gin bruises. Bruises? I’m shocked because we’ve all heard the famous James Bond line when he orders a martini saying he wants it shaken not stirred. Well, he was wrong! Or was he? Some people think shaking gin breaks down the juniper and other herbs added to it dulling the taste. Others argue that it releases the flavors. Who knew people were so invested and argumentative about gin?
Daiquiris – if you are like me when you think of a daiquiri you think of something very sweet with fruit flavor. In A Time to Swill, Chloe notices that Joaquín always frowns when someone orders a strawberry or any other flavored daiquiri. Joaquín educates Chloe about the classic daiquiri which is something entirely different – just three simple ingredients – rum, fresh lime juice, and simple syrup.
The classic daiquiri is attributed to Jennings Cox an American engineer working in Cuba during the Spanish-American War. The story goes that he was throwing a party and ran out of gin (hopefully it wasn’t bruised), substituted rum, and named the drink after the nearby town of Daiquiri. Others say the drink was based on British grog which in addition to the other three ingredients had water and saved the British Navy from scurvy for hundreds of years.
Whatever the origins, I decided to whip one up to see for myself. It’s a delightful combination of tart and sweet—so refreshing on a hot day. Here’s my recipe for a classic daiquiri:
1 and a half ounces of white rum
1 ounce plus one teaspoon fresh lime juice (it HAS to be fresh)
½ ounce simple sugar (you can buy simple syrup at the grocery store if you don’t want to make your own)
Pour all the ingredients into a cocktail shaker with ice and then strain into a glass.
If you don’t like to drink alcohol this mocktail is great too!
1 and a half ounces of sparkling lime-flavored water
1 ounce plus one teaspoon fresh lime juice
½ ounce simple sugar
Pour all the ingredients into a cocktail shaker with ice and then strain into a glass. Shake gently so you don’t make the sparkling water flat. It’s more of a swirl than a shake.
While researching daiquiris I found all kinds of different opinions about the best rum to use and what kind of sugar to use for the simple syrup or if you even should use simple syrup or simply mix sugar with the lime juice.
One more interesting story about daiquiris. The fruit ones that we are so familiar with today also had an interesting origin. Supposedly a man in Texas walked into a 7-Eleven spotted the Slurpee machine, thought “I should add alcohol to that,” and a whole new industry was born.
Readers: What do find refreshing on a hot summer day?