As you may know, Ernest Hemingway was fond of his drink — much in the same way that a Great White Shark is fond of eating seals and surfers. To put it another way: he was a raging alcoholic. As such, he was distinguished by his thirst for cocktails, not his good taste in them.
Hemingway lived in Havana, Cuba during the 1930s, and often did his drinking at El Floridita where the great Constantino Ribalaigua Vert worked behind the bar. The self-proclaimed “Cradle of the Daiquiri,” El Floridita served a menu of cocktails that included at least five different versions of the Daiquiri that Vert created.
When Hemingway discovered El Floridita — supposedly he wandered in looking for a bathroom — he sampled the Daiquiri and found it to his liking. As Hemingway was fearful of becoming a diabetic like his father, however, he demanded a modification: “That’s good, but I prefer it without sugar and double rum.”
Antonio Meilán, a gifted bartender in his own right and an in-law of Ribalaigua’s, made a Daiquiri as Hemingway requested, and it became a regular part of Papa’s drinking rotation. At some point, a touch of Maraschino Liqueur was added to the mix, and a little grapefruit juice as well.
The cocktail that we now call the Hemingway Daiquiri is not for the faint of palate, even in its evolved form. It is strong and tart, and most will find it challenging to drink. If you are one of them, adding a small amount of sugar or simple syrup wouldn’t be out of the question. Although Hemingway might not approve, I suspect Ribalaigua would.