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The Derby Daiquiri | The Official Florida Derby Tipple

Stephen Brown

Mai-Kai - Polynesian restaurant in Fort lauderdaleWe would be remiss if we celebrated these fancy races and their official cocktails without giving nod to the Sunshine State. We’re talking about the Florida Derby, a Triple Crown primer held at Gulfstream Park in late March. This year’s winner, Constitution, was an early favorite for the Kentucky Derby and Triple Crown hopes before scratching last week after the discovery of hairline fracture in the cannon bone (shin) of its right front leg. Unfortunately, the injury has sidelined the three-year-old colt for the entirety of the Triple Crown, but the horse is expected to make a full recovery.

   So even though the Kentucky Derby will be missing one of this year’s premier runners, we can at least raise a glass to the horse’s exploits here in Florida—an undefeated record in three races at Gulfstream (Constitution did not race as a two-year-old, a rarity in thoroughbred racing)—with the Hallandale racetrack’s answer to the Kentucky Derby's mint julep—the Derby Daiquiri.

   Created in 1959 amid the cocktail culture’s golden age, the Derby Daiquiri was the creation of a South Florida original, Mai-Kai, a Polynesian-themed restaurant that opened in Fort Lauderdale in 1956 at the height of America’s tiki bar craze. The now iconic Mai-Kai is still standing, a local landmark that still holds true to its Polynesian-infused South Florida roots. The Derby Daiquiri recipe was originally submitted to a contest sponsored by the Florida Derby to find a signature cocktail. After winning the hearts (and taste buds) of race fans, the rest, as they say, is history.

Derby Daiquiri - The Florida Derby Official Cocoktail - Mai-Kai restaurant    We offer the original recipe as submitted to the Florida Derby, and as it appeared in the Miami News on Wednesday, April 1, 1959.

Derby Daiquiri

  • 1 oz. orange juice
  • 1/2 oz. lime juice
  • 1/2 oz. simple syrup
  • 1 1/2 oz. light Puerto Rican rum

Mix in a blender with 1 cup crushed ice and blend to a smooth, liquid consistency. Serve in liquid state.

*Recipe courtesy of Mai-Kai.

*Image courtesy of SwankPad.org


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