The combination of two thirds of rum and one third of lemon juice was an efficient cure for the thirst of the Cuban combatants fighting against the Spanish colonial army during the second part of the 19th century. It was an excellent painkiller for the injured persons. There is why a bottle of Canchánchara was often seeing hung at the saddle of the soldiers' mount. From that time, it has been a synonym of the struggle of the Cuban people for their independence.
At the beginning of the 20th century, the engineer Pagliuchi visited an iron mine called Daiquiri at the east of Cuba. He questioned the American engineer Jennings S. Cox about the work of the mine because he wanted to exploit deserted mines in the area of Cobre (near Santiago de Cuba).
At the end of the day of work ended Pagliuchi suggested having a drink. The legend says that in Cox's storeroom there were only rum, lemons and sugar. They mixed these elements in a shaker with ice.
"What is this cocktail called ?" asked Pagliuchi. "It has no name - so it must be a rum sour", answered Cox. Pagliuchi retorted that "this name isn't worthy of such a fine and delicious cocktail. We'll call it Daiquiri.
This was the birth of a great classic...
In 1898 the American troops, under the command of general Shafter, landed in the south-east region of the Daiquiri area (there still a beach which bears this name near Santiago de Cuba) to intervene in the war between Cuba, Spain and the United States. The general was fat. It was impossible for him to ride a horse and had to be transported in a cart pulled by a team of horses.
In addition he made a lot of mistakes during the Cuban campaigns. In spite of his faults, Shafter was an inveterate gourmet. He didn't take long time to discover the preferred drink of Cuban patriots, a mixture of rum, lemon juice and sugar. Tasting it he declared: "Only one ingredient is missing: ice".
The real origin of Daiquiri can be attributed to one or the other of these legends. It's probable that each one contains an element of truth. Today this cocktail is known under the name of the Natural Daiquiri.
It was probably Emilio Gonzälez, a cantinero (bartender), of Spanish origin who introduced the formula of the cocktail to the capital (at the Plaza Hotel). What is certain, is that the person who made it famous was the cantinero Constantino Ribalaigua Vert - El Grande Constante - in the bar where he worked, "El Floridita" which was afterwards nicknamed "La Cuna del Daiquiri" (The Cradle of the Daiquiri).
Constante tried and changed three different recipes before to attaining the perfection with the fourth version. He named it The Daiquiri Floridita". To prepare his cocktail, Constante imported from the United States a machine "Flak Mark" brand ice crushing machine. He built a metal box with the bottom pierced with holes, which kept the crushed ice in good condition.
He added crushed ice and five drops of Marasquin to the recipes of Pagliuchi. He mixed these ingredients in an electric blender and served the drink well cooled in a frosted glass. The strict observation of the mixing time and of the proportions gives to the Daiquiri Floridita its characteristic density, its unique texture and its inimitable taste.
From the time of Constante and for more than half a century, the tradition was kept preciously, passed from cantineros to cantineros.
Because of this tradition or thank to the ability of the cantineros, or the atmosphere and the personality of the place, the Daiquiris, which are prepared at the Floridita, have a unique taste. They are still different from those we can find elsewhere.