The Hemingway Daiquiri

Hemingway Daiquiri

Hemingway Daiquiri

During my college years, back when my friends and I had the time and the inclination to discuss and debate everything under the sun, there were lots of idle days when we would sit around and talk about books, philosophy and the meaning of our existence.  I’m pretty sure the debate between Steinbeck and Hemingway came up more than once.   Which author was better?  Why do you think so?

I read The Old Man and the Sea in high school and didn’t much care for it.  Why would I want to read 127 pages about a fisherman trying to land a big marlin?  But then during my college years, I read For Whom the Bell Tolls and A Farewell to Arms and I was hooked.  Hemingway was a genius in my eyes.  Steinbeck- not so much.  Of Mice and Men– so tragically depressing.  East of Eden– I couldn’t get past the first 20 pages.  And The Grapes of Wrath– not exactly the most uplifting novel (Spoiler alert:  it doesn’t end happily ever after).   So I always argued in favor of Hemingway- his simple yet (I thought) profound prose won me over as a lifelong fan.

Papa Hemingway was also famously known as a big drinker.  A bartender at El Floridita in Havana, Cuba created a variation of a daiquiri in honor of Hemingway, and the recipe is readily available to anyone who googles “Hemingway daiquiri.”  There are a few different ways to make this drink, but my version is pretty close to the original, except that it’s not prepared with shaved ice.  And I added a wee bit of simple syrup to make it a little less tart.  I think you’re going to like this, people!

Headed to the Hemingway House in Key West in the mid 80s (couldn't find my picture of me standing in front of it.)

Headed to the Hemingway House in Key West in the mid 80s (couldn’t find my picture of me standing in front of it.)

I have been wanting to do a post about this Hemingway daiquiri for awhile now, and yesterday I heard a promotion for a new movie coming out about a journalist who goes to Havana to meet the legendary author during the Cuban revolution.   So for you die-hard Hemingway fans, this weekend you can enjoy a movie about the guy, plus the recipe for his favorite drink!

Hemingway Daiquiri

2 oz light rum

1/4 oz maraschino liqueur (you only need a very small amount)

juice of an entire lime

juice of half a grapefruit

1/2 oz simple syrup

Place all ingredients into a cocktail shaker with ice and shake.  Strain into a martini glass and garnish with a lime wedge.

You can use pre-packaged grapefruit juice and/or lime juice in a pinch, but fresh is by far the superior choice.  If this seems a little too sour for you, add a little extra simple syrup.  This drink goes down WAY too fast, so you’re better off taking the time to squeeze a ton of limes and grapefruit ahead of time so you can make a pitcher’s worth.   Or if you just want a nice BIG cocktail all for yourself, make it a Papa Doble (you’ll find out what this is when you google “Hemingway daiquiri”).

Steinbeck or Hemingway?  Last time I checked, Steinbeck didn’t have a drink named after HIM- I know who wins THIS contest.


  • Lennie George says:

    Phooey! I LOVED Steinbeck as a kid! His descriptive details totally drew me in. E of E is great, G of W is great; okay, Of M & M, maybe not so much.

    Never read any Hemingway; I heard he was a low-life…..

    • Monica says:

      To each his own, Lennie- we could have had a spirited discussion back in the day. Maybe you should read a little Hemingway, then decide- or at the very least, have a daiquiri!!

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