The Papa Doble

Fred Waring's birthday

Your cocktail calendar entry for: June
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Today we’re going to mix the Papa Doble for Fred Waring’s birthday.  Born in 1900, you all know Fred because he’s the name behind the Waring blender.  Only the story is a little more complicated than that.

You see, Fred wasn’t born as the Baron of Blenders.  He wasn’t even the inventor.  Fred was actually an entertainer.  A little like our last honoree in The Drunkard’s Almanac, Dean Martin.  Only Fred wasn’t Italian, a crooner, or a fixture in Las Vegas.  He didn’t do comedy, nor was he known for drinking.  But he was the founder of Fred Waring’s Banjo Orchestra, eventually becoming known as Fred Waring and His Pennsylvanians, and was actually quite successful at it.  He was a top-of-the-charts recording artist, a radio show host and a television star.

But, importantly for us, he was also a gadget freak.  A gadget freak with money.

The Birth of the Blender

Sometime in 1936 a man named Frederick Osius somehow charmed his way backstage after a Waring performance at New York’s Vanderbilt Theater.  He approached Waring seeking financial backing.  There he plopped down a device with an electric motor and a cup with blades.  He’d patented as an improvement on a soda fountain device invented by Stephen Poplawski in 1922.  Osius flipped the “On” switch and it didn’t work.  Oops.  But Waring was intrigued and agreed to back the idea.

Six months and $25,000 later things still weren’t working.  Waring dumped Osius and brought in some engineer buddies.  Things like sealed bearings were worked out.  In 1937 the Miracle Mixer blender was introduced at the National Restaurant Show in Chicago.  in 1938 the Miracle Mixer was renamed the Waring Blendor (later changed to Blender) and the rest is history.  It turns out Fred Osius never lived to see his brain child debut, but a royalty agreement did pass in trust to his widow.

What to mix with a blender?

So what’s an appropriate Drink of the Day to recognize the blender’s enormous contribution to civilization?  Turns out that’s easy, because we can follow the lead of one of the greatest drinkers of the 20th century:  Ernest Hemingway.  Of course we all know that Hemingway liked to get up early in the morning and stand in front of his typewriter banging out his cutting, signature style of prose.  Beloved in Cuba, where he wrote The Old Man and the Sea, he was known as Papa.

But after all the morning writing, with the sweltering heat of Havana coursing through his veins, Hemingway would frequently find his way to El Floridita, the Old Havana bar tended by none other than Constante Ribalaigua. We know him as the inventor of the El Presidente cocktail.  Whether or not he came up with the Papa Doble is unclear, but a blender is certainly involved.

Of course there is more than one story about the precise origins of the Papa Doble, but one thing is certain:  you don’t need to be fluent in Spanish to recognize that Doble translates into English as Double.  Very fitting for a drinker of Hemingway’s caliber.  Yes, there’s a pun here, but Hemingway allegedly put away 13 rounds of these in a single sitting.  Respect is due.

How to make the Papa Doble

The Papa Doble is a simple blended drink.  But the way Hemingway liked them isn’t quite how most drinkers will.  Hemingway had a notoriously dry palate, and asked for his daiquiris to be made without sugar.  So the Papa Doble in original form is bone dry.  Too dry for most, your correspondent included.

Hemingway drank his made solely from rum, juice and maraschino liqueur and if so inclined you can mix yours that way.  We find the addition of a half ounce of simple syrup takes the edge off and creates a much better balanced drink.


Papa Doble cocktail

Papa Doble

Hemingway liked his drinks bone dry and the original Papa Doble recipe was nothing but rum, juice and maraschino liqueur. Considering they used tart yellow grapefruit that's quite bit tart and too much for most palates. This version adds a bit of simple syrup to take the edge off. But please, not as much as you might do with other daiquiris – as one of the great drinkers of all time we owe that to Hemingway.
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  • 3 oz White rum Use a light rum. If you've got it, do it right and break out your Havana Club 3.
  • 1 tsp Luxardo Maraschino liqueur
  • 1 oz Fresh grapefruit juice Try to find white rather than the sweeter pink grapefruit.
  • ½ oz Fresh lime juice
  • ½ Simple syrup


  • Add all ingredients to blender with crushed ice.
  • Blend for a few seconds, strain into glass.
  • Drink.
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