The common denominator among daiquiris is rum, lime, and a sweetener. From there anything can (and does) happen; e.g. a trip through the blender, an extra fruit, etc. Many of those variations are below the main recipe.
The 'real' Daiquiri, however, is an extremely simple rum cocktail and the three ingredients should find a balance in your glass. If your drink is a bit too tart, add more sugar. If it is too sweet, add more lime. It is a matter of personal taste as to how you take your Daiquiri, though this recipe is a good place to start.
The only other advice I have is to keep in mind that this is a very transparent cocktail, so quality ingredients do matter. Choose a quality rum and use fresh lime juice. Also, save some money and make your own simple syrup (it really is simple and there is no need to buy it).
However you choose to look at it, this is an elementary cocktail, one that should be a top priority to memorize. Once you get it, you will become a believer that bottled Daiquiris have no place in the bar.
- Pour the light rum, lime juice and sugar syrup into a cocktail shaker with ice cubes.
- Shake well.
- Strain into a chilled cocktail glass.
A Little Daiquiri History
The Daiquiri is thought to have been developed in the late 1800's in Cuba. It was either created as a medicinal treatment or in a "There's no whiskey or gin around here... time to doctor up the local rum" type of scenario. As is often the case in cocktails, we do not know for sure which is the truth and it is likely that both renditions have some element of the truth in them.
Probably the most famous Daiquiri lover was Ernest Hemingway, who also happens to have a variation named after him. The aptly named Hemingway Daiquiri adds grapefruit and maraschino to the mix and it is another fantastic drink.
For a very thorough history of the Daiquiri, read Wayne Curtis' book, And a Bottle of Rum.