Happy Hour - A Dark Rum Daiquiri

Demerara rum and Demerara sugar, together in one glass.

Recently I pitched the Daiquiri as the ultimate summer drink. I stand by that assessment. But with a few modifications, you can make a winter-friendly version as well. The trick is to use dark rum and dark sugar syrup. (And yes, it still tastes great in hot weather.)

For this version, I don’t add salt or absinthe, and I don’t tweak the basic 8:3:3 ratio. It really is just rum, plus lime and sugar syrup in equal proportions. 

Instead of the bright, salty, herbaceous flavor of my favorite light rum Daiquiri, this version is rich and cocoa sweet, like an ice cream bar coated with dark chocolate. I typically use Demerara gum syrup, which gives it an even thicker and more distinct mouthfeel. But you can use a basic 2:1 Demerara syrup if you don’t want to go through the extra steps. Just blend two parts Demerara sugar with one part water for several minutes, then store the syrup in the fridge.

As is so often the case, this drink, which I’ve noted before, works because the ingredients match well: In addition to the Demerara syrup, I use an aged Demerara rum — El Dorado 8 year. 

I’m a fan of the entire line of El Dorado Demerara rums, all of which are affordably priced, but the 8 year is a particular favorite because it’s so well suited to cocktails. It’s not quite as heavy and overpowering as the 12 year, but it has more oak-barrel character than the 5 year. It’s neither too heavy nor too light, like a jacket that’s the perfect weight for late fall. 

This Daiquiri is creamy and decadent, easy to drink but worth savoring. It also runs ever so slightly sweet — which is how I like it. If you find it too sweet for your tastes, try boosting the lime juice before you cut the sugar. 

Winter Daiquiri 


  1. Combine all ingredients in a shaker

  2. Add ice, then shake until thoroughly chilled. 

  3. Strain into a coupe or Nick and Nora glass. No garnish. 

On a really hot day when you’re drinking outside, try serving this cocktail in a double rocks glass over crushed ice — like a fix.


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