One of history’s most maltreated cocktails, the daiquiri will be restored to beautiful simplicity at Franklin cocktail lounge in the Delano, opening September 2 at Mandalay Bay. Just white rum, sugar and fresh lime juice was all it took at the start of the last century, around the time the drink—a sort of polished take on Navy grog—was created by an American engineer in Cuba. Nevada beverage development specialist Andrew Pollard collaborated with Mandalay Bay beverage director Dennis Lofland on the classic components of the Franklin menu. “The daiquiri, for all of its simplicity, has been so misinterpreted for so many years,” Pollard says. Indeed, it hasn’t been pretty: frozen, blended and by the yard. But as knowledge spreads, the classic hand-shaken daiquiri has slowly been reasserting its presence in Las Vegas. “It’s very exciting and encouraging to see that tradition making its way back into circulation.”
Also making its way around town is Bacardi 1909 Heritage Rum, a relatively new Bacardi expression that celebrates the year the daiquiri is said to have been introduced in the U.S. by replicating the original labeling and recipe of that time, and is bottled at a slightly higher proof. Shaken with quality ice, and served up in a tall Spiegelau coupe, the Delano Daiquiri ($11) not only bears the hotel’s name, it also sets the tone for the Franklin cocktail program, which showcases popularized Latin and tropical-inspired classics of the early-to-mid 20th century (mai tai, mojito, paloma) alongside South Beach-inspired originals. As Las Vegas and Miami share a common heyday in the 1940s and ’50s, both elements of the menu seem as natural a fit for the new lobby lounge as they would be at the original in Miami.
As served at Franklin lounge in the Delano at Mandalay Bay, $11
In a mixing glass, combine 2 ounces Bacardi 1909 Heritage Rum, 1 ounce fresh lime juice and 1 tablespoon superfine bar sugar. Stir briefly to dissolve the sugar. Add ice, cover, shake vigorously and double-strain into a chilled 9¾-ounce cocktail coupe. Garnish with a brandied cherry and lime wheel.