El Presidente Cocktail

El Presidente Cocktail
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The El Presidente cocktail is often regarded as Cuba’s answer to the Manhattan, featuring white rum, blanc vermouth, orange curaçao, and grenadine.

The El Presidente cocktail traces its roots to the vibrant streets of Havana, Cuba, in the early 20th century. The cocktail’s name suggests a connection to the political landscape of the time, with many attributing its creation in honor of President Mario García Menocal, who governed Cuba from 1913 to 1921.

The El Presidente has multiple claims regarding its invention. One popular narrative credits American bartender Eddie Woelke, who also created the Mary Pickford, crafted the cocktail at the Jockey Club in Havana during the 1920s. However, a conflicting claim suggests an earlier inception, dating back to 1915, a period that predates Woelke’s arrival in Cuba by five years.

The debate deepens when considering alternative theories on the cocktail’s birthplace. Some argue that the El Presidente was born within the walls of Vista Alegre, a Havana establishment frequented by Americans, adding another layer of mystery to its origin. Another fascinating claim proposes that President Menocal himself might have played a role in the cocktail’s creation, elevating it to a symbol of political and cultural significance.

The cocktail begins with the foundation of Cuban white rum, a spirit known for its light and crisp profile. The addition of blanc vermouth introduces a touch of herbal complexity, creating a bridge between the sweetness of the orange curaçao and the subtle tartness of the grenadine.

The white rum, often distilled from sugarcane, contributes a tropical essence that mirrors the spirit of Cuba itself. This base serves as a canvas upon which the other ingredients can express their individuality, resulting in a well-balanced and nuanced cocktail.

Blanc vermouth, a fortified wine infused with various botanicals, adds depth and sophistication to the El Presidente. Its herbal notes complement the sweetness of the orange curaçao and grenadine, creating a layered experience that evolves with each sip.

The orange curaçao injects a burst of citrusy brightness. Its subtle sweetness acts as a bridge between the rum and vermouth, creating cohesion within the cocktail.

Grenadine, derived from pomegranate, completes the ensemble with a touch of sweetness and a hint of tartness.

Beyond its delightful taste, the El Presidente cocktail holds cultural significance as a representation of Cuba’s tumultuous political landscape during the early 20th century, the cocktail encapsulates the spirit of an era marked by political intrigue, cultural exchange, and the emergence of a vibrant cocktail scene.

El Presidente Cocktail Recipe

  1. 45 ml white rum

  2. 22.5 ml blanc vermouth

  3. 7.5 ml orange curaçao

  4. 1 tsp grenadine

  5. Ice

  6. Garnish: orange twist or maraschino cherry

el presidente cocktail recipe

How to Make El Presidente Cocktail

  1. Add the white rum, blanc vermouth, orange curaçao, and grenadine into a mixing glass.

  2. Stir for at least 10 seconds, until chilled.

  3. Strain into a coupe glass.

  4. Garnish with an orange twist or a maraschino cherry.