A style of drink that dates back to the first bar guide – Jerry Thomas’s How to Mix Drinks, or The Bon-Vivant’s Companion – the Daisy has had many forms over the decades. Thomas wrote that the Daisy should be served on shaved ice, whereas the hallowed The Savoy Cocktail Book called for cracked ice. Some recipes call for soda and some don’t. Some are made with egg white and others are topped with fresh fruit. The base spirit and glassware have varied widely. However, all versions of the cocktail adhere to a basic formula.
In simplest terms, the Daisy is a subclass of sours. Sours are all built on a simple three-part structure of spirit, citrus and sweetener. In a Daisy, this sweetener is often fruit cordial or a grenadine, but it can also be a liqueur, such as maraschino or triple sec.
Whatever sweetener, citrus, or spirit are used, a Daisy is always a cool and refreshing affair. This is a drink to energize and focus the drinker, to prepare him or her for the hours ahead. Whether on a hot summer afternoon or a chilly, winter evening, the Daisy’s adaptability makes it a drink for any occasion. On a cold evening, build your Daisy with bourbon or sherry.
Sadly, the name Daisy has largely been discarded or folded into the sour category, though these delicious drinks have made their marks on the cocktail world. Most drinkers have almost certainly had one, and bartenders worth their salt should be able to make one – and neither may realize it.
After all, the most famous Daisy is simply known by the word’s Spanish translation – Margarita.
Looking for a refreshing Daisy fit for autumn’s coldest nights? Try this bourbon and brandy Daisy.
The Virtue of Temperance
1 oz. Wild Turkey Rare Breed bourbon
0.5 oz. Torres 10 brandy
0.75 oz. orange cordial (recipe below)
0.5 oz. lemon juice
3 dashes Bittercube cherry bark vanilla bitters
Shake ingredients with ice and double strain into a chilled Nick and Nora glass. Garnish with an orange twist.
1 L fresh-squeezed orange juice
0.85 kg granulated sugar
1 oz cognac
1 oz bourbon
zest of 1 orange
Combine orange juice, cognac, and bourbon over medium heat. Bring mixture to a simmer. Remove from heat and and add granulated sugar and orange zest. Stir to combine. Cordial will keep for four weeks in the refrigerator.