Drink of the Week: The Bacardi Cocktail

Bacardi CocktailIn many respects, I’m still just finding my way around the world of cocktails but one thing is now clear to me: you can’t really separate mixology and marketing. As with so many drinks, the precise history of our Labor Day weekend selection, the Bacardi cocktail, remains pretty much a complete mystery, but clearly the manufacturers and promoters of the best known brand of rum must have had some connection to the formulation of this simple and surprisingly delightful concoction, a pretty basic variation on the booze, tart citrus juice, and sweetener formulation of so many fine drinks.

The Bacardi cocktail is nevertheless a special case in the annals of alcohol marketing. In 1936, just three years after the repeal of prohibition, a lawsuit was brought and the New York Supreme Court actually ruled that this drink must be made with Bacardi rum or it’s not a Bacardi cocktail.

The Bacardi Cocktail

1 1/2 ounces of Bacardi light rum (use another brand at your own legal peril!!)
1/2 ounce fresh lime juice
1/2 teaspoon grenadine.
Maraschino cherry (extremely optional garnish)

Combine rum, lime juice, and grenadine in a cocktail shaker with lots of ice. Shake vigorously, and pour into our old friend, the chilled martini/cocktail glass. Do not be alarmed if the color is a bit more pinkish and cloudy than the picture above. It’s possible the photographer preferred his Bacardis stirred, not shaken. Regardless, throw in a chemically preserved cherry, if you like, and toast the New York State bar (sorry).


Apparently back during the prohibition era, some cocktail classicists insisted that a “real” Bacardi Cocktail was made with sugar or simple syrup and not grenadine. I have no real argument with that except that, if you do that, then you basically have our last DOTW, the Daiquiri. I will say that I strongly recommend sticking to these proportions. A little bit of grenadine, it seems, goes a long way. I tried indulging my sweet tooth by using an entire teaspoon of grenadine per 1.5 ounces of rum, and the result was not at all pleasing. Even such a seemingly still small amount of the very sweet syrup created an unpleasantly saccharine drink. Some prefer to use a very small amount of sugar or simple syrup and just a tiny dash of grenadine for color. That might work as well.

Have a good holiday, everyone. Also, be safe on the roads. There are still some people out there who think they can imbibe whatever they like and get behind the wheel. Don’t be one of them.


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