Toast to Papa Doble
A recipe for the Hemingway Daiquiri in celebration of the author’s 115th birthday.
Last Thursday morning in New Orleans, attendees of Tales of the Cocktail had the option of attending a seminar on the Floridita Bar in Havana, dubbed the “cradle of the Daiquiri.” A favorite hangout of Ernest Hemingway, the bar and its famous bartender Constantino Ribalaigua Vert are said to have invented the traditional Daiquiri. Sloppy Joe’s Bar was more famous at the time, but it was at the Floridita that Americans and Cubans alike could get the sweet mixed drinks of the islands.
Constantino created more than 200 original drinks, and his Daiquiri alone had four different recipes. The Daiquiri #1 is a classic with white rum, lime juice and sugar. Hemingway liked his with maraschino liqueur and grapefruit juice, a take on the Daiquiri #3. Constantino mixed it in the blender for him with crushed ice, and Hemingway drank his Daiquiri in a highball glass wrapped in a napkin secured with a rubberband to aid against slippery fingers.
The Daiquiri #3 became known as the “Papa Doble,” and Hemingway was said to drink between four and 17 of them a day. The name comes from the writer supposedly telling Constantino to double the rum and eliminate the sugar because he was afraid of getting diabetes. In order to maintain some semblance of privacy at his home, Hemingway used El Floridita as his office or salon and always sat on the stool under the window to the left of the bar.
Constantino died in 1953 and, although his wife and heirs took over the bar, it wasn’t the same. Hemingway stopped going as frequently but will forever be immortalized with a brass statue in the spot of his favorite barstool.
Celebrate Hemingway’s birthday today — he would have been 115 — by blending or shaking up a Papa Doble. We don’t advise trying to beat his record of 17 and if you’d rather cut the rum in half and add back in that teaspoon of sugar, the late Constantino would probably be grateful.
Photo Credit: Hemingway (center) with Spencer Tracy and his wife Mary during the filming of “The Old Man and the Sea” and daiquiri tasting during The Floridita seminar at Tales of the Cocktail.