El Presidente Cocktail – A Beautiful Mess


The El Presidente is a famous Cuban cocktail created in the early 1900s. It’s a variation of the classic Manhattan. It was most likely named after President Mario García Menocal. During Prohibition-era Havana, Cuba became a popular vacation destination for Americans who came for the beautiful weather, beaches and of course, incredible cocktails. The Mojito and the Daiquiri are the best-known drinks from this time. The El Presidente may not be the most famous rum-based cocktail, but it is not one to miss.

More Rum Cocktails: Painkiller, Mai Tai, Piña Colada, Rum Runner, Blue Hawaii, Cuba Libre, Dark & Stormy.

Ingredients in an El Presidente

  • White Rum – Or Golden Rum are both great choices.
  • Dry Vermouth
  • Orange Curaçao – Or an orange liqueur such as Cointreau.
  • Grenadine Syrup – Learn to make grenadine from scratch (or use store bought). You’ll just need a splash.

As far as glassware, we used martini glasses to serve our cocktails. Coupe glasses are also a great choice.

Instructions

In a cocktail glass filled with ice, mix rum, vermouth, orange liqueur and grenadine syrup. Stir until well-chilled.

Next, strain your mixture into a chilled cocktail glass.

Garnish with an orange twist and enjoy immediately.

Tips For Making

  • This is a recipe that has a lot of small variations and debate among bartenders, so feel free to experiment a little with the individual bottles you use to discover your perfect version. 
  • I admit I went a bit heavy on the grenadine. If you use less you will have a more orange color and less bright red—again, what you prefer may come down to personal taste. 
  • A chilled coupe glass or martini glass takes this recipe through the roof. How to chill a cocktail glass: You can chill a glass in a sink or bucket filled with ice water. Another popular method is to pop your glass into the freezer for at least 30 minutes. We usually don’t chill our glasses (when doing food photography), but it’s such a nice touch—we highly recommend it!

History

The first El Presidente cocktail recipe was published in 1915 in a Spanish book called “Manuel de Cantinero,” written by John B. Escalante. 

As we explained above, this recipe was most likely named after President Mario García Menocal (president from 1913-1921). There is a rival version of the story, however, that the cocktail is named after Gerardo Machado, who was a general and also president from 1925-1933.

By the 1920s, this slow sipper was one of the most popular drinks and has remained well known to this day.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the El Presidente cocktail made of?

Rum, vermouth, orange liqueur and grenadine.

Is the El Presidente a sweet cocktail?

The El Presidente is a well balanced rum cocktail. While many rum cocktails tend to be extremely sweet, the El Presidente is mildly sweet.

More Recipes


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Get the Recipe

Learn to mix up the El Presidente cocktail using white rum, dry vermouth, orange curaçao and grenadine syrup. 

Yield 1 cocktail

Prep 3 minutes

Instructions

  • In a mixing glass filled with ice, mix rum, vermouth, orange liqueur and grenadine syrup. Stir until well-chilled.

  • Next, strain your mixture into a chilled cocktail glass.

  • Garnish with an orange twist and enjoy immediately.

Notes

  • This is a recipe that has a lot of small variations and debate among bartenders, so feel free to experiment a little with the individual bottles you use to discover your perfect version. 
  • I admit I went a bit heavy on the grenadine. If you use less you will have a more orange color and less bright red—again, what you prefer may come down to personal taste. 
  • A chilled coupe glass or martini glass takes this recipe through the roof. How to chill a cocktail glass: You can chill a glass in a sink or bucket filled with ice water. Another popular method is to pop your glass into the freezer for at least 30 minutes. We usually don’t chill our glasses (when doing food photography), but it’s such a nice touch—we highly recommend it!

Nutrition

Nutrition Facts

El Presidente Cocktail

Amount per Serving

% Daily Value*

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

Notice: Nutrition is auto-calculated, using Spoonacular, for your convenience. Where relevant, we recommend using your own nutrition calculations.



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