The frozen fruit daiquiri: even saying the drink's name out loud can lead to cringing. Extra-sugary, prepared without fresh fruit (and occasionally with no real fruit at all), these drinks often aren't even all that boozy. But on a hot day, the fantasy of the ideal frozen drink remains. If only frozen daiquiris were more like...real daiquiris.
Compared to the fruity, frozen descendants, the classic daiquiri has a much lighter touch. It's a simple trinity of rum, sugar, and lime juice, ideally made with the best of each. (Step away from the bottled lime juice, ok?) And while this straight-up cocktail is pretty flawless, the simple, classic daiquiri serves as a wonderful canvas for experimentation.
We can do better than store-bought juices and food dye. Seasonal fruits—and even vegetables—are great additions to a classic daiquiri base, especially if you're going the blender route. Peaches are so tantalizingly sweet at this point in the summer that you're missing out by not incorporating them into cocktail hour—just pull out the pits and throw the fruit in, no peeling necessary.
How do you know your peach is ripe? The fruit will have some give when you press it, but it shouldn't be mushy or bruised. If you walk past your fruit basket and you get a nice whiff of peach—well, that's a sign it's ready to be used. To add complexity to the drink, we call on white pepper and green tea, which add an earthy layer of flavor that works nicely with the sweet stone fruit and floral rum.
Drink Your Veggies
If you're new to vegetable cocktails, you may not be quite ready for a Kale Collins, but I encourage you to keep an open mind.
Cucumbers are the gateway vegetable: although they have a hint of savory flavor, the snappy, refreshing little guys play very well with sweet components of a drink. At a brunch I attended recently, I ate a cucumber granita served with strawberry shortcake (you do dessert at brunch too, right?)—it was a great reminder of the quiet cucumber's versatility. It works similarly in a daiquiri, softly sweetened with herbal, slightly licoricey Green Chartreuse.
Both daiquiris are perfect for a party, in part because you chill the booze mixture overnight in the freezer. Because of the alcohol content, it won't freeze, but it will dip in temperature, allowing it to ward off excessive dilution in a blender full of ice.