“Fruit Daiquiris” is an umbrella term for a number of Daiquiri variants which enhance the standard rum, lime and sugar of a Natural Daiquiri with various fruit flavours.
Undoubtedly the Strawberry Daiquiri is the best known and most popular. But there are plenty of others, with the Raspberry and Blackberry Daiquiris being among my personal favourites.
Given the simplicity of the Daiquiri and the easy availability of fruit, Fruit Daiquiris are among the easiest cocktails to make at home. For this reason I highly recommend them as a topic for early experimentation with home mixology.
Though the flavour that defines them varies, each one shares the same taste profile, method and cocktail philosophy. For this reason I am comfortable talking about them as a single group. Since I’ve used “Raspberry Daiquiri” as their representative on previous flavour maps I’ll do the same here.
Since they are Daiquiri variants, I strongly advise rereading the Daiquiri post before tackling this one.
So you like it Fruity?
One common problem novice bartenders run into is trying to ask the right questions to determine someone’s tastes. And then interpret the answers they get. It takes time and experience to build up a proper understanding.
Hence why Fruit Daiquiris are a good place to start. Ask someone how dry or smoky they like their drinks and you may get a blank or confused look. But ask someone what fruit flavours they like and you’ll usually get an enthusiastic response. Everyone knows what fruit is. Everyone has an opinion on which they like and which they don’t.
First thing we should consider is what type of fruits we can use to make Fruit Daiquiris. Answer is, pretty much any. However, some clearly work better than others.
In order to really shine when subjected to the Fruit Daiquiri treatment, fruits need to meet 3 criteria:
First, if using fresh fruit they need to be in good condition, not going off. The fungi that grows inside rotting fruit tastes no better in a Daiquiri than when eaten.
Second, Fruit Daiquiris are slightly on the sweet side to best bring out the fruit flavours. So it follows that fruits which are themselves slightly on the sweet side work best as they complement this approach. For example, raspberries and blackberries work just fine, while redcurrants and gooseberries not so much.
Third, you ideally want to use fruits which pack a significant flavour punch into a low volume. This allows you to keep the drink short. So the high volume, soft taste of a watermelon doesn’t work so well.
This is not to say that you can’t use certain fruits for cocktails. Not at all. Just that a different cocktail style and approach may be better suited to it than the Daiquiri.
How to get your fruit fix
I’ve been talking about adding fruit flavours to a Daiquiri. Though using fresh fruit is the obvious approach it is not the only one. Any cocktail bar will have a variety of fruit syrups and liqueurs available for use and maybe some fruit purees too.
All of these can be used to impart fruity flavours into cocktails. All have pros and cons. I’ll consider each option in turn.
First let’s get the fruit syrups and liqueurs out of the way. These are both sweet, fruit flavoured bottles of liquid found on cocktail back bars. The difference is that liqueurs are alcoholic while syrups are not.
Their flavour is generally synthetic over fresh. While they can add depth or a fruity counterpoint to various cocktails, on their own they are simply not enough to make a good Fruit Daiquiri. They can contribute to the drink’s taste, but not to its texture.
Bottom line, if you have them and want to use them you can. If you don’t, don’t worry. Either way what makes a Fruit Daiquiri is the use of either fresh fruit or puree.
Using fresh fruit is the obvious first option, especially for home use. Most people include fresh fruit in their diets, and so are already familiar with it. It is easily available from markets and supermarkets. You may even grow some in your back yard and are here looking for another way to make use of a surplus.
Ripe, fresh fruit can be absolutely gorgeous, and will impart a similar taste to Fruit Daiquiris made with it. But it also has significant downsides.
First is that it’s not cheap. At least, not when you’re making dozens or hundreds of fruity cocktails. Cocktail bars go through a lot of fruit and must always have backup on hand. It must be reliably sourced all year round, and has a very limited shelf life compared to other products. In a bar setting waste is high, and so are costs per drink.
Second, it’s inefficient. In busy cocktail bars speed is everything. It doesn’t matter if you make the best cocktail in the world if the customer has to wait 20 minutes for it. Using fresh fruit I have to prepare it, select it, wash my hands and then muddle it before adding the rest of my ingredients. Compare that to the ease of squirting in some puree from a squeeze bottle. A handful of seconds compared to 30.
Third, it’s hard to ensure good quality. Now when you’re able to use fresh local produce which has ripened on the plant, fresh fruit tastes great. But wherever in the world we live most fruit is usually out of season. To meet consumer demands an entire industry of farms in far off places and refrigerator ships has sprung up. The blackberries in my local supermarket comes from Peru one month, Israel the next and Australia the next.
The problem is that many fruits don’t travel well. Pick them ripe, sort and package them then send them off across the world and they’ll likely arrive rotten – or getting that way. The solution food producers came up with was to pick fruit before it is ripe and then artificially ripen it enroute to its destination.
This has the advantage that fruit will turn up on the Western consumers’ shelves in pristine condition. Increasing its chances of being bought. The downside is that by not ripening on the plant, much of the taste risks being lost. Anyone who has tried strawberries at Christmas and found them bland and disappointing knows what I mean.
One solution is to use fruit purees. There are companies around the world which bulk buy fruit which is turning – still good, but won’t be for long. Then they mash it up into a puree and probably pasteurize it – the specifics vary. The result is a liquid fruit puree which can be easily poured into drinks.
Coming from a good quality producer this stuff can be great. Since it is made with fresh fruit its taste is both good and standardized and it has a thick texture. It pours easily, can be stored easier and lasts longer than fresh fruit.
The downsides are that it is not nearly as easily available to the general public as fresh fruit is. It typically comes in containers of 1 liter minimum size, must be refrigerated, and buying a single pack at a time might be awkward. Depends on your supplier.
Bottom line is that fruit puree is designed for use by the bar industry. If you’re a cocktail bartender, make it your friend. If you’re making cocktails at home, think fresh fruit first.
Recipe and Method
Since the Fruit Daiquiris are variants on a Natural Daiquiri, let’s start with the recipe for that: 2 shots of rum; juice of 1 lime; 10-15ml sugar syrup.
The rum and lime stay the same. However, you’ll note that the use of sugar syrup in the Natural Daiquiri was strictly to achieve balance with the sour of the lime. Hence the quantity varies depending on personal taste, and the size of the particular lime you’re using.
Fruit Daiquiris are a little sweeter to bring out the fruity flavours better. And they contain more of other sweetening agents as well. You will have to adjust the quantity of sugar syrup you use as a result.
On one extreme, if you were to use 10ml each of a fruit syrup and fruit liqueur per cocktail, you’d probably not want to add any sugar syrup at all. Whereas if you were just adding a handful of fresh blueberries as your only fruity component, you might want to maintain the Natural Daiquiri’s quantities.
Fruit Daiquiris are served like Natural Daiquiris – straight up in a Coupette. So they are also shaken and then double strained. That makes things simple:
Take a Boston Glass. Add all your ingredients and shake. Double strain into prepared glass. Garnish either with a lime wheel or with appropriate fruit.
However, if you are using fresh fruit then you’ll want to muddle it before shaking to ensure that the flavour gets into the drink. Ideally this is always the first thing you do. Trying to muddle pieces of fruit in the bottom of a Boston Glass is easy. Trying to muddle them when floating in ~75ml of liquid is not so easy, and a little messy.
When using fresh fruit, how much do I use? For the example of raspberries, I’d say 5/6. The equivalent amount of volume for other fruit. Obviously you’d want to trim the fruit if needed to only use the flesh. No need to add the green stalk of a strawberry. And just as when you eat it, wash your fruit before muddling it.
If instead I’m using fruit puree, then about 20ml should suffice. If you choose to use fruit liqueurs or syrups, 10ml of one or both per cocktail is sufficient.
Exotic Fruit Daiquiris
What constitutes “exotic fruit” depends entirely on your point of view. Living in the UK I count Fejoia as exotic, yet strangely Kiwifruit as not – despite the fact that they are both native to New Zealand. Kiwifruit seems better suited to international travel and more appealing to most tastes than Fejoia, so has gone global.
But Fejoia still makes a good Daiquiri – if you can get your hands on some nice ripe ones. Which basically means, if you live in New Zealand.
I reckon that the Jackfruit and Mangosteen I tried in South East Asia would do well too. But the only times I’ve tried them back in Europe they were bland and boring. Still, I reckon that Durian is likely to be a lost cause.
Nevertheless, wherever you live in the world there will be some seasonal fruit which may be suitable to making Daiquiris. I encourage you to try.
I’ve left Frozen Daiquiris for last because frankly I hate them. I understand that some people love them and will do my best, but slushy alcoholic drinks just don’t do it for me. I’d rather have a well made Strawberry Daiquiri. Or some strawberry ice cream. Both work great. To me a Frozen Strawberry Daiquiri is just somewhere in between. It has no essential nature.
Still, they are simple enough to make. Firstly, get a Fruit Daiquiri ready as though you were going to shake it. If using fresh fruit, don’t bother to muddle it. Then add ice and transfer to a blender. Blend until smooth and pour out.
Note that the consistency of the drink depends completely on how much ice you add. Less ice and the drink will be on the slushy side. More ice and it will be closer to a sorbet. How much ice you’ll need for the balance you want is something you’ll have to experiment with to get right.
Also, note that the inclusion of ice will severely dilute the drink. Not just alcoholically, but also its taste. You might want to try making your frozen versions extra fruity to compensate.
Also, there are some fruits which generally don’t make good Fruit Daiquiris as they are too sharp or potent. Redcurrants and gooseberries spring to mind. They may make a good Frozen Daiquiri however. Something to experiment with if you have a Gooseberry bush in the back yard.