El Presidente is a unique Cuban cocktail from the early 1900s and a favorite to the island’s upper class. The classic recipe calls for white rum, orange Curaçao, grenadine, and Blanc vermouth (a semi-dry and slightly sweet type of vermouth), which unfortunately is difficult to find, so bartenders often use dry vermouth instead. Native to Havana, Cuba, and one of the most popular drinks from the Caribbean island, along with the Mojito and Daiquiri.
Credit for the recipe goes to Eddie Woelke – an American bartender who left the U.S. during the prohibition. You can find the cocktail in many bartending guides from the 20th century, but one of its first appearances in literature was in the popular 1930 “The Savoy Cocktail Book” from Harry Craddock.
There are 2 stories about the name of this wonderful drink. One is that Woelke named it after Gen. Mario García Menocal, who was president of Cuba from 1913 to 1921. And the other story claims it was Gerardo Machado, who was a president between 1925 and 1933. Either way, it’s still a great cocktail and who was it named after won’t change that. 🙂
Important for classic cocktails like this one is that you always go for quality ingredients. Your favorite rum, or simply one from the top shelves, would be great. Use the same vermouth you would use if you were making a Martini for someone important. Make sure your curacao is from a good brand, or you can also use Cointreau and Triple Sec instead, which are quality orange liqueurs. Small things like that make all the difference and remember, no one likes cheap cocktails. 😉
- 1 ½ Ounce (45 ml) of white rum.
- ½ Ounce (15 ml) of dry vermouth.
- ½ Ounce (15 ml) of sweet vermouth.
- 1 Ounce (30 ml) of orange curacao.
- a dash of grenadine.
- Garnish with an orange twist.
- In a mixing glass, add rum, vermouth, curacao, and grenadine.
- Fill with ice and stir until well chilled.
- Strain into a cocktail glass.
- Garnish and enjoy.