Though there’s some dispute that Ernest Hemingway actually said, “Write drunk, edit sober,” there’s no doubt that the writer loved to drink. Like his work, one of his signature cocktails has endured to become a classic: the Hemingway daiquiri, which the writer would request when he traveled to Cuba’s El Floridita.
“He was a diabetic, so he couldn’t really have sugar,” says Syed Ali, director of food and beverage at Fontainebleau Miami Beach (4441 Collins Ave.). “He would call it a Papa Doble—take the sugar out and double the rum. He also added a little bit of grapefruit juice and a little bit of Luxardo Maraschino to give it some floral notes.”
No offense to Hemingway, but Ali knew the daiquiri had room for improvement.
“That daiquiri is really tart and very dry,” he says, “so we tweaked it a little bit, hence the name Perfect Hemingway.”
Available at StripSteak by Michael Mina, the Perfect Hemingway Daiquiri surprises some customers because of, Ali says, the daiquiri’s undeserved reputation as overly sweet.
The secret is two kinds of rum—a white rum and a dark rum that Ali describes as “a beautiful caramel, oakey rum” that lends body and depth. And, of course, there’s more sweet stuff. The result is bright and acidic with grapefruit undertones that are softened by sweetness.
“Hemingway, I think, would appreciate this drink as well because it keeps the spirit of the drink alive but also makes it palatable for a much bigger segment of the population,” Ali says.
The daiquiri does double duty, bringing Old Florida history to life and celebrating the legendary Miami nightlife that locals and visitors expect from the hotel.
“In Florida, you want to drink something that’s uplifting and bright, but with our proximity to Cuba and Key West, everything’s also a little nostalgic and ties into Hemingway and the Rat Pack,” Ali says. “These guys were drinking this drink when Cuba was open, and, hopefully, more people will have a chance to go to the bar where they still have the Papa Doble.”
Perfect Hemingway Daiquiri
3/4 ounce Diplomatico Reserva
3/4 ounce Diplomatico Reserve
1/2 ounce grapefruit juice
1/2 ounce simple syrup
1 teaspoon Luxardo Maraschino
1 Amarena cherry for garnish
1 lime wheel for garnish
Combine all ingredients into cocktail shaker and shake over ice. Strain into coupe glass and garnish with lime wheel and Amarena cherry.