“Always do sober what you said you’d do drunk. That will teach you to keep your mouth shut.” - Ernest Hemingway
If Ernest Hemingway were still alive, today would be his 112th birthday. After consulting the interwebz, I found out that one of Hemingway’s favorite drinks was called the Papa Doble. The Papa Doble is a variation of the classic Daiquiri (white rum, lime juice, and a bit of sugar). As I have discovered when researching most cocktails, trying to find the authentic version of a particular beverage is never easy. The same holds true with the Papa Doble.
While most Papa Doble recipes include white rum, lime juice, grapefruit juice, and maraschino liqueur, some skip the grapefruit altogether, while others substitute simple syrup for the maraschino liqueur. And then there’s the ingredient proportions! Here are the variations…
- Rum: 2 or 3 ounces
- Lime Juice: Anywhere from .5 ounces to the juice of two limes
- Grapefruit Juice: Anywhere from no grapefruit juice at all to the juice of half a grapefruit
- Maraschino Liqueur: Anywhere from none at all to .5 ounces
- Simple Syrup: Anywhere from none at all to 1 ounce
With that kind of variability in just one drink recipe, what’s a novice cocktail geek to do? Since I had first read about the Papa Doble in Jason Wilson’s book Boozehound, I decided to use the following recipe that he included at the end of a chapter titled “Of Politics and Rum”:
- 2 ounces rhum agricole
- .5 ounces freshly squeezed lime juice
- .5 ounces freshly squeezed grapefruit juice
- .25 ounces maraschino liqueur
Directions: Fill a cocktail shaker halfway with ice. Add the rum, juices, and maraschino liqueur. Shake well for at least 60 seconds, then strain into a chilled cocktail glass or an ice-filled old-fashioned glass.
Unfortunately, I was unable to secure any rhum agricole, so I went with a bottle of Barbancourt White Rhum instead. Until I read Boozehound, I had never heard of rhum agricole. Apparently, all rhum agricole is rum, but not all rum is rhum agricole. Here is what Esquire magazine has to say about rhum agricole:
“Unlike most rums, Martinique’s rhum agricole — “agricultural rum” — is made not from the sticky, black, and sometimes sulfurous by-product of sugar refining we know as molasses but from fresh-pressed sugarcane juice. Pricier, yes, but the raw cane juice makes for a distillate that’s the tequila of the rum world: bold, fresh, and spicy, with all kinds of vegetal notes from the cane stalks. When young, it’s a great mixer; when old, it sips like a fine Armagnac. However old it is, it’s about as unlike vodka as a spirit can be. Thus the old order passeth.”
If I had to describe the Papa Doble, I would say that it lies somewhere between the Daiquiri and the Margarita. The addition of the grapefruit juice cuts down on the tartness that you usually get with the classic Daiquiri recipe, and the maraschino liqueur adds just a hint of sweetness. Although the Boozehound version was tart and tasty, I’m curious to try some of the other variations. As I am learning rapidly during my cocktail journey, there is no such thing as a definitive cocktail recipe, since they are all open to interpretation and constantly evolving. The important thing is to make a drink that you and others will enjoy.
Happy Birthday Mr. Hemingway!