Every year, it’s easy to get swept up in the rollicking cacophony of sights, sounds, and tastes that define the uber-popular drink festival, Tales of the Cocktail.

Yes, there are elaborate-themed poolside shindigs, futuristic parties with robots and ice sculptures, cover bands dressed like Devo, and a rogue mechanical bull. But as fun as they may be, those were all side shows to 2015’s main act: the frozen daiquiri.

If the enthusiasm at Tales is any indication, the daiquiri is ripe to serve as the poster child for the rapidly expanding revival of the frozen drink genre.


Named the “official drink” of this year’s celebration, its presence was felt above and beyond simply being a boozy figurehead appropriate for July in New Orleans. Daiquiri pit stops popped up across the city over the course of the week; a chartered party bus took guests around to some of New Orleans’ most famous daiquiri shops; and liquor-drenched headlines were made when it was announced that Tales had acquired the country’s only celebration of the daiquiri—the New Orleans Daiquiri Festival—ensuring that the drink will naturally reach a wider, international audience beginning in 2016.

Louisiana_Frozen_Daiquiri_Bar_in_Baton_RougePhoto: Wikimedia Commons

The frozen daiquiri, it seems, is on a roll.


While icy margaritas, pina coladas, and bourbon slushies are all well and good, it’s the daiquiri that should be both revered and respected as the frozen drink team captain.

And why not? It’s one of the few drinks that seems to have defied the space-time continuum, and is readily sipped by Baby Boomers on cruise ships, octogenarians at shuffleboard tournaments, and young pups who have just crossed into 21-and-up glory with equal zeal. It’s playful without being pretentious, yet can be interpreted in enough ways to please any palate. People know it, and people love it.

At its best, the frozen daiquiri is less a drink and more a lifestyle (#daqlife) we can all hope to achieve: flexible, sweet-yet-powerful, and undoubtedly chilled out.

At its best, the frozen daiquiri is less a drink and more a lifestyle (#daqlife) we can all hope to achieve: flexible, sweet-yet-powerful, and undoubtedly chilled out.


Watching 30,000 cocktail enthusiasts rekindle their love for a beverage that was a recent Applebee’s menu relic (and worthy of eye rolls) felt like a beautiful victory for closeted frozen drink lovers everywhere. Its popularity also helped shine a spotlight on rum’s meteoric rise in popularity, with seminars educating imbibers on everything from Haiti’s blossoming rum culture to current efforts aimed at recreating centuries-old rum flavors.

daiquiri


Of course, I might be a little bit biased.

I had the opportunity to serve as a judge in this year’s cocktail competition, which brought in over 200 frozen daiquiri recipes from bartenders across the globe. Watching this laid back drink be interpreted with such varied flavor influences (aloe vera juice! curry! soursop!) was a testament to its infinite adaptability, and how drinking—at its best—is something that links people across oceans when the right concoction is in play.


Less kitschy than tiki and lacking any of Prohibition-era cocktail pretense, the daiquiri’s accessibility is admirable. After all, it’s easy for people to raise a glass to a drink that not only can laugh at itself, but ensures everyone is in on the (delicious) joke.

If Don Draper wants the world to share a Coke for peace, I want them to sip a daiquiri.

daiqPhoto: Yelp