Hemingway Daiquiri

The Hemingway Daiquiri is a tart grapefruit cocktail, the namesake daiquiri of the famous Ernest Hemingway himself. Made with tart grapefruit juice, a splash of lime juice, rum and maraschino liqueur, this twist on the traditional daiquiri is totally worth cozying up with a classic Hemingway novel. 

Two Hemingway Daiquiris on a gold tray near dried lime wheels and a gold bowl of cherries.

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Hemingway Daiquiri recipe

When you think of daiquiris, you might think about the kind you get from a slushy machine in New Orleans.

But there is a drink that inspired those sweet, juicy frozen delights. And that drink is the classic daiquiri, which is made with lime juice as the primary flavor.

Another classic daiquiri is known as the Hemingway Daiquiri, which was beloved by and named for the author Ernest Hemingway himself.

The classic daiquiri has lime juice, rum and simple syrup. The Hemingway Special is built upon that foundation, along with grapefruit juice and maraschino liqueur. However, Hemingway, who watched his sugar intake, preferred his drinks to be made without sugar.

He also had one very strict rule regarding drinking: “The only time it isn’t good for you is when you write or have a fight. You have to do that cold.”

You must get to know this delicious classic cocktail and try making it yourself as Ernest Hemingway did.

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A gold tray holds two rum cocktails in coupe glasses, the lid to a cocktail shaker and a bowl of cherries. additional garnishes and tools sit beside on a white marble surface.

Why you’ll love this recipe

Hemingway daiquiri is a classic for a reason, and you’ll love it.

  • It is simple to shake up with just a few ingredients.
  • This recipe is a great way to up your knowledge of classic cocktails.
  • If you have maraschino liqueur hanging out on your bar cart, this is a great drink to use it up in.

This cocktail is perfect for anyone who wants to get to know their classic cocktails and for grapefruit lovers.

It’s great for book lovers too. Make it for book club when you read one of Hemingway’s classic novels.

What is a daiquiri?

The daiquiri is a cocktail from Cuba made from rum, lime juice, and sugar or simple syrup.

The original daiquiri is served neat in a coupe glass, but modern versions — like the frozen mango daiquiri or frozen strawberry daiquiri — blend the ingredients with ice to create a frozen slushy.

A gold arrow skewer with a dried lime wheel and cherry over a grapefruit daiquiri alongside bar tools.

History of the Hemingway Daiquiri

The Hemingway Daiquiri is a variation that dates back to Ernest Hemingway’s time spent in Cuba. The story goes that this namesake cocktail is the drink he enjoyed night after night.

According to Difford’s Guide, Constantino Ribalaigua Vert, the lead bartender of the bar El Floridita in Havana, Cuba, created the drink for Hemingway, who tasted the bar’s house frozen daiquiri and asked for a version with twice the rum and no sugar.

Hemingway’s nickname was “Papa,” so the original recipe was called the “Daiquiri Like Papa” and Papa Doble,” and Hemingway famously ordered multiples of these when he visited the Havana bar.

Later, a new head bartender at El Floridita, Antonio Meilan incorporated maraschino liqueur and grapefruit juice, and the drink’s name changed to the “Hemingway Special.” The drink is rather tart, so sugar or simple syrup is sometimes added for balance.

Tools & glassware

For this drink, you’ll simply need a basic bar tool set with a cocktail shaker, strainer and jigger.

The Hemingway Daiquiri is usually served in a coupe glass, but you could use a martini glass or rocks glass too.

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Two Hemingway Daiquiris alongside their garnishes and ingredients

Ingredients

Here’s what you need to make a Hemingway Daiquiri:

White rum

Also called silver rum, white rum is light and bright. It’s used in lots of other Cuban cocktails, like the classic mojito.

Don’t settle for gold rum or spiced rum here: The clear color of white rum is a perfect match for this cocktail as it lets the pink hue of grapefruit juice shine.

Bacardi White Label Rum and Mount Gay are two classic brands to try.

Check out Rum 101 for a crash course on this spirit, the top brands to buy and what else you can make with it.

Maraschino liqueur

If the name maraschino makes you think of the cherries, you’re not far off. Maraschino cherries and cocktail cherries are made from Marasca cherries, and so is this liqueur.

This liqueur is sweet with a robust cherry flavor. There are several brands, but the most popular is Luxardo Maraschino Liqueur. 

Lime juice

As with any classic cocktail, fresh citrus makes all the difference.

Store-bought is great in a pinch or if you need to make a big batch, but if you have time to get out your citrus squeezer, the flavor will thank you.

Grapefruit juice

Ditto for grapefruit juice. If you have the time and the means to juice a fresh grapefruit, this drink will be all the better for it.

If not, store-bought ruby red grapefruit juice will work just fine.

A gold arrow skewer suspends a dried lime wheel and a cherry over a cocktail in a coupe glass

Garnishes

The drink is often garnished with a lime slice, a cocktail cherry and sometimes a grapefruit peel. When it comes to cherries, you’re not looking for the neon red ones you’d put in a Shirley Temple

You want to use cocktail cherries. You can make your own with fresh cherries or you can buy them. Luxardo cherries are made by the same company who makes the liqueur, so it’s a great choice, but here’s a list of the best cocktail cherries you can try to find your favorite.

Variations and substitutions

Classic Daiquiri: If you switch out the grapefruit for lime, you’ve pretty much got a regular daiquiri.

Papa Doble: If you want to try the original Hemingway Daiquiri, make a classic daiquiri with double rum and no simple syrup.

Frozen Hemingway Daiquiri: Though Hemingway would cringe, you could make a frozen version by blending the ingredients with 1-2 cups ice. 

Non-alcoholic Hemingway Daiquiri: You could try a non-alcoholic version with a rum-like spirit such as Lyre’s White Cane Spirit. A splash of cherry syrup would give this a bit of the maraschino flavor.

A clear cocktail pours into a coupe glass from a stainless steel shaker.

How to make a Hemingway Daiquiri

Throwing together Hemingway’s preferred drink is quite simple.

Simply place all the ingredients in a cocktail shaker filled with ice and give it a good shake.

Strain it into a chilled coupe glass. 

Then garnish with a maraschino cherry and lime wedge or lime wheel. I used dehydrated limes which add a sophisticated pop of color.

Overhead view of two grapefruit rum cocktails on a gold tray with fruit garnishes and cocktail tools.

Tips & tricks

Here are some tips and tricks for making this recipe:

  • Be sure to use Luxardo cherries or cocktail cherries, not the bright red maraschino cherries you’d put on an ice cream sundae.
  • Fresh lime juice and fresh grapefruit juice will take this drink over the top.
  • If you don’t like your drinks tart, you can add ½ ounce of simple syrup to sweeten the drink.

What to serve with Hemingway Daiquiris

Since the drink has Cuban origins, it would be great with Cuban foods, like a Cuban sandwich or Cuban egg rolls.

You could also enjoy it with one of Hemingway’s favorite foods: the peanut butter and onion sandwich. (Yes, really.)

This tart drink would also be delicious with appetizers like baked brie with honey or a cheese board.

A fruit skewer garnishes a daiquiri

FAQ

What is the difference between a Hemingway daiquiri and a regular daiquiri?

A classic daiquiri is made with rum, lime juice and simple syrup. A Hemingway daiquiri is made with rum, lime juice, grapefruit juice and maraschino liqueur. Both are traditionally shaken with ice and served neat in a coupe glass.

Why is it called a Hemingway Daiquiri?

The Hemingway Daiquiri is named for the author Ernest Hemingway, who famously ordered the drink at Havana’s El Floridita bar, which he frequented when he lived in Cuba. The original version was made with lime juice and rum, but later was adapted to incorporate grapefruit juice and maraschino liqueur.

Two Hemingway Daiquiris in coupe glasses.

More daiquiri recipes

  • Blood Orange Daiquiri
  • Frozen Peach Daiquiri
  • Raspberry Daiquiri
  • Frozen Lemon Daiquiri

— Did you make this recipe? —

Please leave a ★★★★★ review or comment below.

A gold tray holds two rum cocktails in coupe glasses, the lid to a cocktail shaker and a bowl of cherries. additional garnishes and tools sit beside on a white marble surface.

Hemingway Daiquiri

Yield: 1 cocktail
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes
The Hemingway Daiquiri is a sweet-tart cocktail. Named for the famous author Ernest Hemingway, this drink is a classic worth knowing.
5 from 1 vote
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ingredients

  • 1 ¾ ounces white rum
  • ¾ ounce grapefruit juice
  • ½ ounce maraschino liqueur
  • ½ ounce lime juice

instructions

  • To a cocktail shaker filled with ice, add the rum, grapefruit juice, maraschino liqueur and lime juice.
  • Shake well.
  • Strain into a coupe glass.
  • Garnish with a lime wedge or lime wheel and a cocktail cherry such as Luxardo.

notes

For a sweeter drink, add ½ ounce simple syrup to the cocktail shaker.
Use cocktail cherries, which are also called brandied cherries. Don’t use the bright red maraschino cherries.

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nutrition information

Yield: 1 cocktail

amount per serving:

Serving: 1oz Calories: 184kcal Carbohydrates: 12g Sodium: 2mg Sugar: 7g
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