This version of a drink called the Casablanca is an outlier: No competing exotic backstories, disputed claims of authorship, layers of footnotes, etc. Nobody appears to take credit for this drink.
They should. It’s really good.
I thumbed across it in the encyclopedic but completely undistinguished The Ultimate Bar Book by Mittie Hellmich, which provides no detail about provenance. Neither does any online or print reference I could find.
One would assume this drink is somehow linked to the classic 1942 movie of the same name. This appears unlikely.
- In the film, Humphrey Bogart’s Rick Blaine drinks Scotch.
- He refers to his Moroccan watering hole as a “gin joint.” [Says Rick famously to Ilsa: “Of all the gin joints, in all the towns, in all the world, she walks into mine.”]
- I haven’t seen the movie enough to say for certain that no rum is served at Rick’s American Cafe, but the carfare between North Africa and the Caribbean alone, you’d think, would be a limiting factor.
A Measured Spirit Surmise™: In Spanish, “casa blanca” means “white house.” Spanish is spoken throughout the Caribbean, cradle of rum. Rum was originally made on sugar plantations, where presumably The Big House was white.
Don’t pause to ponder. Just make this drink:
The Casablanca cocktail recipe
- 2.5 oz white rum
- Yes, 2.5 oz
- I used Bacardi, which for a mass brand is really pretty good
- .5 lime juice
- .5 Cointreau
- .5 Maraschino liqueur
- Luxardo only
- Not “cherry liqueur”! [See rant below.]
Shake, strain, serve up. Lime wheel garnish.
The Casablanca cocktail tasting notes
This particular Casablanca is a delightful, boozy variation of the Daiquiri — a more “craft cocktail-y” version, if you will. It loads up on rum and instead of sugar sweetens with equal parts Maraschino and Cointreau.
The proportions for a sour don’t seem right: An ounce of two potent sweeteners you’d think would overpower the half-ounce of lime.
And yet: The result is well-balanced, and introduces to the classic simplicity of the Daiquiri some complementary notes of cherry and orange, plus that certain, how you say…”cocktail-ness” that I always associate with Maraschino. [I must have had some formative experience that laid down neural cable linking Maraschino and “craft cocktail.” This is a disability of for which I feel no need to compensate.]
A Daiquiri you could contemplate at any joint, in any town, in any part of the world.
Otras casas blancas
- The only two citations of this drink I could find is in Difford’s, which adds egg white, and the Intoxicologist blog, which does not.
- Brother Google turns up many versions of a very different recipe called the Casablanca–a tropical confabulation involving pineapple and coconut and so forth.
- An idiot bastard version of the Casablanca cocktail, of which there are dozens of online citations, tragically misinterprets “Maraschino liqueur” to mean “cherry liqueur,” by which they appear to mean “Cheery Heering.” Maraschino liqueur and Cherry Herring have as much in common as a dog and a drone.
- Imbibe slyly craft-cocktails things up even moreso by using molassas made from dates [local Moroccan produce, get it?] and rose water.