Ask a cocktail bartender what the most perfect drink is, and there’s a pretty solid chance they will respond with, “the Daiquiri.” The reason is that while the Daiquiri is, on paper, a sour like any other—with a straightforward blend of sugar, lime and rum—when made right it’s the platonic ideal of balance in a drink. It’s sweet yet tart, boozy but refreshing, and infinitely variable for what rum (or better yet, what blend of rums) you choose to use.
With all of that praise heaped on the Daiquiri, it seems uncouth to add anything like infusions, especially after the drink spent the latter half of the 20th century being thoroughly mistreated with juices and syrups. However, no drink is sacrosanct, especially one as playful as the Daiquiri. Fruit infusions are a classic twist on the Daiquiri—most commonly, with a pineapple rum, many of which are surprisingly good. But if you’re looking to try something a little different, it can mean infusing your own spirits, like with the Mango Brava Daiquiri from drinks consultant and cocktail expert Aisha Sharpe.
While many infusions call for fresh fruit, the Mango Brava deviates from the norm by using dried mango as its fruit infusion. While not quite as bright or, obviously, as fresh as it would taste if using chunks of raw mango, using dried fruit has a few advantages. The first is simply in ease of execution, as dried mango is much easier to portion out than cutting chunks off of a core. It’ll also spare you a sticky mess.
The other advantage of using dried fruit of any kind in infusions is a deeper, sweeter and more robust flavor. Dried fruit is sugary concentrate, and will impart considerable flavor to the spirit in a relatively short amount of time. Rather than mango, you can also try other dried fruits: pineapple, apricot and banana would all make for interesting infusions.
- 2 ounces mango-infused rum
- 1/2 ounce lime juice, freshly squeezed
- 1/2 ounce simple syrup
- Garnish: lime wheel
Add the mango-infused rum, lime juice and simple syrup to a shaker with ice and shake until well-chilled.
Double-strain into a chilled cocktail glass.
Garnish with a lime wheel.
Mango-infused rum: Add 8 ounces of Caña Brava rum (or another high quality white rum of your choice) to a jar, as well as 8 slices of dried mango. Seal and let stand in a cool, dark place for 24 hours, agitating every 8 or so hours. Strain infused rum through a cheese cloth into a clean container and store for up to two months.