Feeling the heat? Make like Hemingway and cool off with a boozy Papa Doble (or twelve)
By Sarah Parniak
White rum is something I’ve barely touched since high school, when my rugged, juvenile iterations of the Cuba Libre — a generous helping of rum topped with a splash of Diet Coke and half a lime squished in for good measure — made it lose its lustre after one too many hellish hangovers. But trauma be damned, there’s one cocktail that inspires me to make an exception: the Papa Doble.
This version of the daiquiri was created by Constantino Ribalaigua Vert, who held it down at La Floridita’s bar in Havana for the first half of the 20th century.
The Papa Doble was named after its most enthusiastic imbiber, the sharp-shooting, womanizing literary genius, Ernest Hemingway, who was known as “papa” and almost exclusively drank doubles, or “dobles.”
Apparently, Hemingway modified the recipe — the original daiquiri contains sugar, while the Papa Doble omits it — to placate his diabetes. Famed for his love of the drink, Hemingway knew that one is never enough and didn’t let a pesky ailment get in the way of sloughing back two or 12 cocktails on an indolent Cuban afternoon.
Hemingway was so enamoured with his signature daiquiri that he even waxed poetic on the drink in the posthumously published Islands in the Stream. “This frozen daiquiri … looks like the sea where the wave falls away from the bow of a ship when she is doing thirty knots," he wrote, probably in the midst of a rum-soaked slushy rapture.
A tart and boozey mixture of young rum, lime, grapefruit and maraschino (a distinctively nutty Mediterranean liqueur made from the crushed pits of marasca cherries), the Papa Doble was traditionally blended and fine strained into a hefty coupe. It’s the perfect drink to both numb and refresh on a scorching day.
But the Papa Doble’s original recipe yields an exceedingly snappy beverage, and few profess to be as masculine as Papa, so it’s no faux pas to add a few dashes of simple syrup (cane sugar works beautifully), depending on what works for your specific set of tastebuds.
To mix one up yourself, shake 1½ oz white rum, ¾ oz fresh lime juice, ¼ oz fresh grapefruit juice and ¼ oz maraschino well with ice and strain into a frosty cocktail glass (or serve over crushed ice if you want to get tradtional about it.)
Double the ingredients if you want to make it a proper “doble.” Sip, enjoy and let the liquid inspiration guide your hand to start scribbling that award-winning novel bouncing around in your head.
Sarah Parniak is a freelance writer, booze nerd and lover of all things delicious. She teaches at the Toronto Institute of Bartending by day and occasionally moonlights as a barfly. You can find her behind the stick at Kensington Market's Cold Tea on weekends, where she cracks a mean tallboy and likes to experiment.
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