Hemingway Daiquiri


The Hemingway Daiquiri is a little tart and sweet, and (yes!) sophisticated. Named after ol' Ernest, it's made with white rum, lime and grapefruit juices, and maraschino liqueur.

Photography Credit: Nancy Mitchell

When you think of a daiquiri, you probably think of a drink that’s very sweet, fruit-flavored, and possibly coming out of a slushee machine. Tasty, maybe, but not very grown-up.

Enter the Hemingway Daiquiri. It’s light, perfectly balanced, sweet without being cloying, and, dare I say it, sophisticated.

This is a drink that will make you think of the daiquiri in an entirely new way.

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In some ways a Hemingway Daiquiri is similar to the more commonly known New Orleans-style slushee version: It contains rum, lime, sweetener, and it’s a pretty color.

But the Hemingway Daiquiri has its own unique history. It’s named for the drink Ernest Hemingway used to enjoy at Havana’s famous La Floridita cocktail bar. Thanks to Hemingway’s friend A. E. Hotchner, who covered it in his memoir Papa Hemingway, the original recipe went something like this:

Two and a half jiggers (or 3 3/4 ounces) of Bacardi White Label Rum, the juice of two limes and half a grapefruit, and six drops of maraschino, all placed in an electric mixer over shaved ice, whirled vigorously and served foaming in large goblets.

This drink, which at the time was known as a Papa Doble, was served to tourists who wanted to follow in the boozy footsteps of Papa Hemingway. (Hemingway claimed to have once had 16 of them in one sitting.)

La Floridita Daiquiri - two cocktails with orange garnish


I tried the Papa Doble, and found it not at all bad, a little like a boozy limeade. But I think adding more maraschino better suits a modern palate. Maraschino, a cherry-based liqueur you’ll find in a lot of classic cocktails, has a cherry-almond flavor and can be found in the liqueur section of most larger liquor stores. The most common brand is Luxardo.

As far as the rum goes, a humble white rum does well here. White rum (sometimes called silver or light rum) has a sweet taste and is clear, like vodka. You can find both aged and unaged white rum. An aged white rum, like Brugal or Flor de Caña, works very well for this drink, but any light rum will do.


If you just have to have a frozen daiquiri (perhaps poolside on a hot day?), you’ll be glad to know this recipe makes a very nice frozen drink.

To make a pitcher (8 servings) of the frozen version, turn the ounce measurements into cups (2 cups white rum instead of 2 ounces, 3/4 cup lime juice instead of 3/4 ounces, etc.), then add all the ingredients to a blender instead of a cocktail shaker.

Add ice a handful at a time, and run the blender until you achieve the desired consistency.


Hemingway Daiquiri Recipe

  • Prep time: 5 minutes
  • Yield: 1 cocktail


  • 2 ounces white rum
  • 3/4 ounce fresh squeezed lime juice
  • 1/2 ounce fresh squeezed grapefruit juice (go for a sweeter variety, like Ruby Red)
  • 1/2 ounce maraschino liqueur
  • Ice
  • Lime or grapefruit peel, optional

Special equipment:


1 Combine ingredients: Add all ingredients to a cocktail shaker, and then add ice.

2 Shake and strain: Shake for at least 30 seconds, until the shaker is very cold, and then strain into a cocktail glass.

3 Garnish: Garnish, if you like, with a lime wheel or a bit of grapefruit peel.

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Nancy Mitchell

Nancy is a writer and photographer living in New York. She makes drinks with local and homegrown ingredients and writes about the New York cocktail scene on her Instagram feed and at her blog, The Backyard Bartender.

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2 Comments / Reviews

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Did you make it? Rate it!

  1. Brandon J. Li

    This is marvelous ! So clean, crisp and refreshing and I can’t wait until the next grapefruit season to make this with Texas Scarlet Reds. Thanks for the recipe :-)


  2. Steve

    I love the Hemingway Daiquiri so much more than the standard. The grapefruit juice adds a bit of bite that counters the syrupy sweetness of the original.

    If you don’t have grapefruit juice, try Campari; go just a bit lighter than the juice volume in your favorite recipe. Campari and lime taste like grapefruit juice. It’s an illegitimate version of the drink… called the Hemingway Bastard.

    Another fun version to try is Ernest Goes to Oaxaca; a normal Hemingway Daiquiri, but with the addition of 1/2 ounce of mezcal. This cocktail is a Hemingway riff on Death & Co’s Jovencourt Daiquiri.


Papa Doble Daiquiri - closeup two cocktails with orange in backgroundHemingway Daiquiri