How to make a classic daiquiri — all you need are three simple ingredients

Ask the Oracle Pour: What should I drink today? All signs point to the classic daiquiri, but make it dark

By Erin Keane

Editor in Chief

Published March 4, 2021 6:29PM (EST)

The Oracle Pour (Illustration by Ilana Lidagoster)
The Oracle Pour (Illustration by Ilana Lidagoster)

"The Oracle Pour" is Salon Food's spirits column that helps you decide what to drink tonight.

Perhaps you have planned your life according to a timeline, with events scheduled to unfold in a certain order. And when you reach a pre-determined milestone — you have been offered the perfect job, or you have made your body look a certain way, or you have achieved some near-mythical state of balance, heretofore just out of your reach — you will allow yourself some pleasure you desire, and not a moment before. Everything in its right place, in the right sequence. Congratulations! This is a very tidy way to live. 

Yes, a reward for meeting a goal helps mark the achievement in a tangible way. And yet, delaying gratification until the timing is just right can also reinforce the notion that pleasures need to be justified, that a body in motion only realizes its full value upon arrival. And sometimes, the closer we are to meeting that goal, the more we need to treat ourselves to a small sample of what life will be on the other side of it to help us power through. 

The same can be said for these in-between times we're in. Perhaps a sleeveless, sunny day with a tropical drink in your hand feels far away right now. Forget a vacation — even a carefree patio or poolside afternoon feels like a fantasy. It's not the season for it, it's not in the budget and health and safety concerns make such an event feel like science fiction, anyway. But look around — are you still burrowed in January's hibernation? The palest of green tendrils are unfurling from a newly-thawed earth.

This is a call to honor the liminal spaces in our lives, and not to put off into the future that which will bring us joy today. Meet that carefree, warm afternoon halfway with a classic daiquiri made with dark rum — the tropical taste of summer delivered with a warm hug designed for shoulder season, for the transitory spaces between the before and the new normal. 

If your experience with daiquiris runs toward the super-sweet machine-churned blender style, the sublime simplicity of the classic daiquiri might surprise you. (No whipped cream and cherry on top. Save your paper umbrellas for Tiki Tuesday.) The classic daiquiri is a shaken cocktail served up, made with three simple ingredients. And in this variation, we're swapping out the customary light rum for dark rum, that's all. 

Keep in mind that your dark rum doesn't have to be a super-dark rum like Gosling's Black Seal — unless you want it to be. I wouldn't suggest the kind of premium aged rum normally reserved for sipping neat, like Ron Zacapa 23 or Don Q Gran Reserva. A medium-aged rum along the lines of the 8-year Bacardí Reserva Ocho (a solid choice for a simple, spirit-forward cocktail) will bring forth enough of those complex flavor layers that make this drink so welcome in cooler months. 


Serving size: one beverage

  • 2 oz. dark rum 
  • 1 oz. fresh lime juice
  • 1/2 oz. simple syrup (add 1 cup of sugar to 1 cup boiling water, simmer until dissolved, cool))
  • Lime wheel for garnish
  • Ice for shaking


You don't need any specialty equipment to mix a simple cocktail. Improvise with what you have. But here's what I keep at hand:


Shake the rum, lime juice and simple syrup with ice until chilled. Strain into chilled cocktail glass and serve with a lime wheel garnish. 


The standard classic daiquiri uses silver rum, which you can always elect to do here. You can also make a more complex syrup for your sweetener, like a honey syrup, or a toasted coconut-infused simple syrup. Just don't overthink it. 

More Oracle Pour:

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By Erin Keane

Erin Keane is Salon's Chief Content Officer. She is also on faculty at the Naslund-Mann Graduate School of Writing at Spalding University and her memoir in essays, "Runaway: Notes on the Myths That Made Me," was named one of NPR's Books We Loved In 2022.

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Related Topics ------------------------------------------

Cocktails Daiquiri Dark Rum Oracle Pour Recipe Rum Spirits