• Ivar

The Big Daiquiri Challenge - Chapter 1

Updated: Jan 22

I’m not much of a cocktail drinker. I respect the art of creating cocktails, but don’t enjoy them as much as sipping rum neat. My gf, Mariangela, is much more into cocktails. This does rub off on me somewhat. Hence why I've bought a few more rums with "cocktail potential" lately. It’s also the reason why I've started drinking daiquiris.

This made me think it would be interesting to do a daiquiri taste testing, to see which rum would give us the most enjoyment in this famous cocktail. It brought up a dilemma though. I have some rum, the limes, the ice and the simple syrup…..but I lack the cocktail knowledge. So I decided to invite a couple of friends. Hamish Grant and Andrew Toplack. Hamish is a big rum enthusiast, who enjoys cocktails more than I do. Andrew is Toronto’s spirit doctor (click here for his story) and very experienced in anything cocktail.

Mariangela and I had setup our dining room table with some snacks and candles for the occasion. Looked nice and cozy. I made a selection of rums as a suggestion and put them all in the kitchen, together with the other ingredients and “tools”.

When Hamish and Andrew arrived we went through which rums we’d use and then debated how to do the tasting. Which recipe? Which format?

The format was easy. Rum A vs Rum B in single knockout. Winner goes to the winners group, loser is out. Then a second round with the winners to find the ultimate daiquiri rum. When it came to the recipe we were discussing if we should use the same each time, or adapt it to each particular rum. Adapting seemed like a good thing to do. It would increase the potential for each rum to shine. However, we soon realized this would take way too much time. So, to keep it fair and fast we chose to use the same recipe for each cocktail. (2oz rum, 1oz lime, 1/2-3/4oz simple syrup)

Next up was choosing which rums would go up against each other. Not an easy feat. We tried to look at abv and style. Despite doing this we still ended up with a few strange pairings. No problem though as this is all supposed to be a fun exercise.

Andrew doing all the heavy lifting

When all decisions were made, Andrew went straight to work….mixing and shaking. After sipping the first daiquiri, we immediately realized we would never leave the kitchen, as the cocktails were made there and the glasses were small (samples), so it never took long to go from one cocktail to the next. Sitting down, pondering over a cocktail never happened.

Which meant we had setup the dining table for nothing. So we moved the chairs from the dining room into the kitchen. It became a kitchen party, or as Andrew said “we are camping”.

I decided to write down some of the things people were mentioning when nosing and tasting each cocktail. We were constantly exchanging opinions, so I definitely missed a few.

Before I share the results with you, let me first make clear that I realize this is mission impossible. There are too many variables to pick “the best”. Not just our different palates but also the recipe and the quality of the ingredients. However, the bottom line is that we had a lot of fun doing this. I hope it comes across that way.

The Cast

· Rum Bar Overproof, Worthy Park, Jamaica, 63%

· Rhum Rhum PMG, Bielle, Marie Galante, 56%

· Probitas, Hampden/Foursquare, Jamaica/Barbados, 47%

· Clairin Casimir, Casimir, Haiti, 50.2%

· Paranubes, Paranubes, Mexico, 54%

· Dr Bird, Worthy Park, Jamaica, 50%

· Mhoba French Cask, Mhoba, South Africa, 65%

· Rhum JM VO, JM, Martinique, 43%

· Dominus, Foursquare, Barbados, 56%

· Doorly’s XO, Foursquare, Barbados, 40%

· SBS Jamaica 2018, Hampden, Jamaica, 59.7%

· Clairin Casimir, Casimir, Haiti, 50.2%

· Clairin Le Rocher, Le Rocher, Haiti, 47.2%

The Tasting