Easy Tiki Drinks, The Derby Daiquiri
Welcome to the first part on a series of Easy Tiki Drinks.
Tiki Mixology has gotten a bad rap over the years. The complexity of the concoctions and obscurity of ingredients have deemed Tiki drinks a no-go for home mixologists and bartenders alike. That most damned ingredient, effort, can be a bitch to wrangle. As you know, I make my own ingredients, and have searched far and wide for exotic liqueurs and rums. I recently received a bottle of a discontinued liqueur that I’ve been waiting to obtain for about 8 years. Such is the life of the obsessive.
But for those who aren’t willing to go the extra mile to drink like Donn or Vic, I thought I’d put together a few of my favorite super simple Tiki Drinks. No more than 4 ingredients, nothing more exotic than a trip to the grocery store, and as little homemade as possible. I might make a tinge of difference on a recipe here or there, eliminating garnish or so, just to show you that behind all the ice cones and feathered lime shells, the base of the drink is something pure and spectacular.
This drink below, the Derby Daiquiri, is the spawn of Mariano Licudine, one of the mixologists at Florida’s famed Mai Kai. You could say for certain that this is one of the drinks that put the Mai Kai on the map as a prominent purveyor of polypop potables. Mariano had been a bartender at Don the Beachcomber’s in Hollywood and Chicago, and for more than a decade worked his way up the chain until he was their #2 mixologist. He was then headhunted by the Bob and Jack Thornton, who were in the process of putting together the Mai Kai. There he took on the #1 slot, and made the Mai Kai’s menu, bar, and bartending program his own.
Mariano developed this drinkin 1959 for a Rums of Puerto Rico cocktail competition. It soon made its way to Esquire and other magazines, even being named the signature drink of the Gulfstream Racetrack’s Florida Derby. There’s plenty more information on Mariano and the Mai Kai in Jeff Berry’s Sippin’ Safari .
Originally served with crushed ice and in an ice shell, this drink stands up just fine without those geegaws and doodads. It even had its own distinct but now all-but-extinct specialty cocktail glass, which can be found on the Beachbum’s Grog Blog. Nifty, but also unnecessary.
- 1 oz Orange Juice
- ½ oz Lime
- ½ oz Simple Syrup
- 1½ oz Light Puerto Rican Rum
Shake with Ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.
Sweet and sultry simplicity. It’s essentially a Daiquiri, but with the sweet richness of orange juice added for a faux-tropical kick. I think over the next few posts, you’ll see just what an influence the Daiquiri had in the development of Tiki Mixology. Hell, as I like to wax poetic about, the potent combo of Rum and Lime is what America craved after all those trips to Cuba during the “noble experiment”.
If you have trouble with this one… well, hope you enjoy hi-balls! You lazy bums…
I’ve got a few more easy ones for you that I’ll be posting all this week. See you in the funny pages.