(The patriarch of the Solomon family, Albert Solomon, and the great Ernest Hemingway)
Who is "Papa"? It depends who you ask. For me "Papa" represents two very important people in my life: my wife's maternal grandfather and the bane of my high school existence (I now see the folly of my youthful ignorance). Both "Papas" have had an impact on my personal and professional life, but it was not until the annual Solomon family trip of 2011 that the two "Papas" would collide.
The week was filled with a variety of concoctions from a very classic Martini (Albert's drink of choice) to the whimsical Cucumber Yum Yum. Shauna and I decided that our meal should focus, as much as possible, on local ingredients and have a tropical/island feel. One of my favorite categories of cocktails are the sours. A combination of a base spirit, citrus, and sugar that is extremely refreshing and easy to make. Not knowing what spirits would be available I was open to whatever presented itself to me. Not surprisingly there is a local rum producer on Kauai, Koloa Rum Company. Immediately I knew we had to use this local spirit. What better "sour" for the islands than a daiquiri!
The Classic Daiquiri
2 ounces of light Rum
1/2 freshly squeezed lime
1 teaspoon Simple Syrup (adjust to your preferred sweetness level)
But not wanting to lose the competition, as Shauna and I are the reigning champions of the last Solomon Cook-Off, I thought the Classic Daiquiri may not garner as many points as we needed to keep the crown. My favorite version of the daiquiri is the Hemingway Daiquiri. As with all cocktails there is history, variations and arguments as to what is the "truth" (here is a good article from Liquor.com on the history of the Hemingway Daiquiri). In the end, Papa Hemingway was in Havana, Cuba and stopped into a bar called El Floridita were he was introduced to the daiquiri. He fell in love with one called the #3 or #4 (depends on who is telling the story) which replaces the simple syrup with Maraschino Cherry liqueur (the most popular is Luxardo) and fresh grapefruit juice.
The only issue is that we did not have a bottle of Luxardo on hand. This liqueur is rare enough in New York City and making the likelihood of finding it on Kauai pretty slim. Well, if you are on the north shore and need some unique spirits and/or great wine there is a wine shop that will blow your mind: Princeville Wine Market. When we walked in I had low expectations but I asked and with a devilish grin the proprietor handed me a bottle. I was amazing, thrilled and can't wait to go back so I can support this great store. The family was in for a great cocktail surprise and our road to the championship was looking good.
Replacing the simple syrup with Luxardo and grapefruit juice create an earthy and less sweet version of the drink but does not decrease the "drinkabilty" by any means, as noted by the impromptu conga line the family made in the living room.
I used a recipe from famed bartender, Jeffrey Morgenthaler (I add a touch more rum to my drinks). It is VERY simple and VERY tasty!
The Hemingway Daiquiri
2 ounces light rum
3/4 ounce freshly squeezed lime juice
1/4 ounce freshly squeezed grapefruit juice
1/4 once Maraschino Liqueur
In the end, the Hemingway Daiquiri made an entire family happy and a bit buzzed, maybe giving us a few more points to help retain our title as "Solomon Family Vacation Cooking Champions". I'm not sure if it is now Papa Albert's favorite cocktail but I know he at least liked as much as the first one Papa Hemingway enjoyed, because I had to keep refilling his glass.