The Bacardí Cocktail became one of the most popular drinks in America immediately following the repeal of Prohibition. It is a variation of the Daiquiri that involves rum, lime and grenadine in place of sugar, and though a rare sight on menus today, it was a stalwart of the 1930s bar repertoire. Its origin, however, can be traced back to a couple decades prior to Repeal Day.
On November 13, 1913, The Oakland Tribune reported on a new cocktail containing Puerto Rican rum, lime juice and grenadine that had been imported from New York. While the Bacardí Cocktail wasn’t specifically named, that may be the first written account of the drink. Soon after, the Bacardí Cocktail appeared in the 1914 edition of "Drinks," specifying Bacardí rum as the base spirit. It continued to be included in other influential works throughout the decade, solidifying its place in the history books.
By the time the 1930s rolled around, Americans—especially those who drank in Havana during America’s dry years or those who’d already sampled the Bacardí Cocktail—were thirsty for the familiar recipe. In New York, it became a top-selling staple at many bars. However, the brand soon realized that not every Bacardí Cocktail actually contained Bacardí rum. This posed a problem for the brand, who acted by issuing law suits in 1936 against the establishments pouring Bacardí-less Bacardí Cocktails. They won, and the Bacardí Cocktail became a government-protected drink, similar to the Dark and Stormy, which can only be made with Gosling’s rum.
When making the cocktail today, it’s best to use homemade grenadine rather than the artificial, bright red versions you’ll find in stores. Real grenadine is rich, delicious and typically less sweet than most commercial options. It’s also closer to what people would’ve been drinking back in the 1930s, when the Bacardí Cocktail was king.
2 ounces Bacardí Ocho rum
3/4 ounce lime juice, freshly squeezed
3/4 ounce grenadine
Add all ingredients into a shaker with ice and shake until well-chilled.
Strain into a chilled coupe glass.