Daiquiri & Bacardi (long!)

Bapopik at AOL.COM Bapopik at AOL.COM
Thu Sep 2 05:20:35 UTC 1999


     The OED has both "Bacardi" and "Daiquiri" from 1920-1921.
Www.bacardi.com traces "Bacardi" to 1862 Cuba.
     This is from THE SOUTH AMERICAN, November 1916, pg. 24:

_Who Discovered "Bacardi," the Famous Cuban Drink_

"Nobody," Says D. S. De Jongh Who Dispels a Popular Illusion and Doubtless
Starts a Violent Controversy
By John Vavasour Noel

     "To those who know their Cuba, either by living in that wonderful land
of plenty and magnificent climate, or they that once did breathe its air
under the spell of the tropics and the fitful shade of the palm tree, the
magic word 'Bacardi' has a daily or reminiscent meaning.  It is not merely
rum or 'ron,' but 'Bacardi.'  It is spoken almost affectionately, a thing
apart, in another class from the ordinary distillation of the sugar cane."
    "Thus," said D. S. DeJongh, in his New York office, to a representative
of THE SOUTH AMERICAN, who wandered in asking for enlightenment on the many
tales of discovery by bibulous explorers of the famous Cuban drink.
     "Santiago de Cuba," he continued, "was its cradle, and since 1862 it has
sent out increasing quantities of specially prepared rum under the old
pot-still process, to the entire satisfaction of the Cubans, and later to
those 'who knew.'  The Spanish-American war popularized it to the Army and
Navy, as well as to the newspaper men and all visitors to Cuba.  They soon
found that 'Bacardi' left no bad taste; that it was a good mixer and that
with the addition of lime-juice it made a wonderful high-ball or a delectable
'Daiquiri,' of which more later.
     "The fame of 'Bacardi' soon spread, and returning sailors and soldiers
carried home many jugs or bottles and also shipped it in barrels.  With it,
tradition syas, the sale of limes (there are no sour lemons in Cuba)
increased, and the demand for this citrus fruit was also stimulated by the
devotees of the 'Daiquiri.'
     "Once home," went on the interviewee, "they found it difficult to secure
'Bacardi,' as the demand for it in Cuba was so great that the firm of Bacardi
& Company were unable, much to their regret, to supply the requirements of
American patrons.
     "Consequently, interest in it died out, and the friends of 'Daiquiri' in
America were obliged to turn toward gin rickies, in which limes, already made
popular for use in 'Daiquiris,' are utilized.
     "Since 1908, however, the sale of 'Bacardi' has assumed remarkable
proportions and is now obtainable everywhere.  Its old friends have returned
to it and have told others about Cuba's national drink.  With this reviving
interest, due to a systematic distribution, have come wonderful tales of
those who were the original discoverers of the drink.  Some are weird yarns
of over-imaginative minds, and other stories told in good faith.  A book
about them would make interesting reading, but the truth is that Facundo
Bacardi founded the business in the year 1862.  Upon his death in 1888, he
left it to his two sons, Emilio and Facundo, and a partner, Enrique Schueg.
The business was well established and carefully organized at the time
Santiago fell.  In proof of this is the photograph taken in Havana nearly
twenty years ago, showing an advertising poster of 'Bacardi Ron' (_ron_ being
Spanish for rum).
     "A discoverer's favorite story is that while wandering around Santiago
the intrepid explorer discovered a cave or cellar where wonderful 'ron' was
served, under primitive conditions and the shadow of huge casks--a
century-old product.  Of course the hoary old Spaniard knew nothing of the
potent charm or value of that exquisite drink, and they bought for trifling
sums huge jugs which were the envy of their mates.  Finally, they were told
the great secret and shown the path to the mysterious cave.  The owner was
humbly grateful to the Americans and in time by refilling his casks with
newer rum did a wonderful business and established the foundation for the
present great industry which turns out over ten thousand barrels per month.
     "Another story," smilingly continued Mr. DeJongh, "is that the hoary old
Spaniard, collarless and besandaled, supposed to be the original Bacardi, had
no special name for his rum, and the 'Boys' christened it on the spot at the
first sampling by his patronymic.  It is a pity to spoil a good story but the
Bacardi family has for generations taken a leading part in Santiago society,
and Don Facundo was a most cultured man.
     "Now, the Daiquiri, well beloved in the Navy, before Daniels upset the
rum cart, has a story of its own.  To begin with, it is made of Bacardi, lime
juice and a little sugar, shaken up or stirred and served with cracked
ice--really an old-fashioned cocktail.
     "Three mining men, of international reputation, identified with the
famous mines of Daiquiri, at the extreme easterly end of Cuba, not far
distant from Santiago, were imbibing an old-fashioned decoction at the Casa
Grande, the Delmonico of that locale.  One of the partners of Bacardi joined
them, and instead of spirits from Scotland asked for the product of Cuba,
which aroused the curiosity of the others and led to a trial of the beverage,
which was immediately pronounced excellent.  Then and there it was most
felicitously baptized 'Daiquiri,' from which place its fame and name has
radiated in all directions." (...)


    The NYPL didn't have a copy of Lionel Braun's THE DRINK DIRECTORY (1982),
but the Library of Congress had it.  (Braun claims to have invented the
"B-52" drink.)  Included are recipes for many drinks, but "Sex on the Beach"
and "Long Island Iced Tea" are not there.


    I posted the origins of these terms.  "Highball" is a drink in a tall
glass.  A martini, for example, would not be a highball.  A "highball"
usually contains whiskey or brandy.  "Cocktails" usually contain wine, but at
a "cocktail party" you can drink anything.
    BTW, South Africa has some very fine wines.  I especially liked the white
wines on our winetasting day.  One big issue is that countries--especially
France--are holding on to their wine names.  (Does Bordeaux have to be from
France?  Does Swiss cheese have to be from Switzerland?)   In a year or so,
South Africa cannot make "port."

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