Bruised Gin and Other Things I’ve Learned

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?

46 Thoughts

  1. Great research, my friend! I love a gin and tonic in the summer. Schweppe’s tonic only, never sugar-free and some gin from that pretty blue bottle (the name completely escapes me) over ice with a quarter lime squeezed over it and then left in the glass. Yum! But now I want to try that real daiquiri.

    1. G&T is great in the summer. I can think of two with blue bottles: Bombay Sapphire and my current favorite Drumshambo. It’s an Irish gin that uses gunpowder green tea as part of the botanical/aromatic blend. Best served with tonic and a large wedge of grapefruit. Cheers!

  2. I enjoy a nice frozen daiquiri. I had one at the Seafood Festival this past Sunday. It was so hot out and I just needed something to help cool me down.

  3. For me, a nice cold glass of lemonade on a hot summer day will always be the best relief from the heat. Aside from a nice air conditioned room of course.

  4. I’m a fan of a tall Campari and soda (or “Campari soda” as the Italians call it) over ice with an orange slice. It’s very important to drink it quickly before the ice melts and dilutes it 😉 Repeat as necessary.

  5. Jay’s lemonade sounds good, pink lemonade! I like an iced tea or iced coffee. I do like a nice cold Michelob Ultra on a hot summer’s day, too!

  6. I love this. After Hurricane Irma trounced our house my husband had an honest to gosh tiki bar built for the pool. Then he bought a bunch of bartender books and set about learning how to make the perfect cocktail. I must say, he did a great job. Give an engineer a task and they’ll do well at it. We would end each day by the pool with a different drink. I posted many to my Facebook page. They were often almost too pretty to drink.

  7. Can’t beat rum drinks on a hot summer day, Sherry! In recent years, I’ve become a fan of the mojito. The mint really brings home the refreshing summer vibe.

  8. I’m with J.C. on the mojito. I’ll also have a margarita and one pina colada a year, please. I missed going out for tropical drinks in Key West this year, when we were mostly doing take-in. Next year I plan to make up for it!

  9. I like a mojito, too. I also like a Moscow Mule. Unfortunately, I don’t have copper mugs so I have to drink mine from a glass!

  10. As a non-drinker, I know nothing. Thanks for this interesting trivia.

    Looking forward to diving into the new book in a few weeks!

  11. Really cold sweet tea or even plain old water quench my thirst when it is hot outside, but I recently read that instead of sport’s drinks after exercising the best thing to drink is chocolate milk. I will admit to a weakness for chocolate milk, hot or cold! Sherry, you are putting that research to good use in your series…and what a GREAT series it is, too!

  12. I used to love all kinds of cocktails, but I no longer drink. I’ve found that flavored seltzer water is the most refreshing thing I can find. Even at room temperature, it quakes my thirst like nothing else.

    Love the history of the cocktails. There really never is ONE answer as to who made them first, is there?

  13. I like a wine cooler, my husband makes pretty good ones. Have a great rest of the week and stay safe. Thank you for sharing your Daiquiri recipe.

  14. My favorite drink in any season is from a restaurant called Outback Steakhouse. I live in the northeast. Anyhoo- the drink is called the Wallaby Damned. (It’s an Australian-themed restaurant.) The Wallaby is essentially a frozen peach Bellini. Another favorite is a blackberry and whiskey drink. Can’t think of the name right now. I’m pretty easy to please with cocktails- just please, no coconut anything. Ugh!

  15. A Mojito. It’s a Cuban thing I love them. You would need to get the recipe from an actual Cuban since they make them differently than the bartenders here in Arizona. They do the shaker thing but a good mojito is made in the glass with bits of mint to chew on while you sip the drink.

  16. Iced tea, lemonade or limeade for nonalcoholic cool drinks, frozen drinks for an alcoholic treat.

  17. I enjoy a glass of unsweetened iced tea with Splenda or a bottle of water. Thank you for the opportunity.

  18. Use Castillo Gold Rum. We switched and really like it better. Much better than Bacardi, which we grew up on for our Cuba Libres down in South Texas while visiting in Matamoros, Mexico. A Cuba Libre is a rum and coke with lime over ice. Pina Coladas are nice, frozen daiquiris, and our usual Seagrams VO and ginger ale.

  19. On a hot summer’s day, I find sitting under the covered porch with all the ceiling fans on, a glass of ice cold homemade lemonade to my side, a great book from the top of my TBR list in my hands and the time to enjoy it all very refreshing. Shoot works for me any season other than more or less layer of clothing, fans on or off and change drink to maybe something hot but the good book things is for all seasons.
    2clowns at arkansas dot net

  20. Had to give this post some serious thought. Hmm. After careful deliberation and a bit of “hands om” research last night, I’ve decided that my new favorite libation on a hot day is a 16. fl. oz of Ritz lemon-lime seltzer. The amount is important, because the drink can be finished in one sitting without losing its fizz.

    BTW, loving the new book, Sherry!

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