El Presidente

Cocktails | Rum | Vermouth

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Written By cocktailflavors.com
El Presidente_001


Welcome to the world of the El Presidente, a cocktail that exudes elegance and sophistication. This Cuban classic is a harmonious blend of rum, vermouth, curaçao, and grenadine. It’s a drink that promises to transport you to a bygone era of style and refinement.

With its smooth, nuanced flavors, the El Presidente is perfect for those who appreciate a cocktail that’s both sweet and bitter. Its history is as rich as its taste, making it a favorite among connoisseurs and casual drinkers alike. Let’s dive into the allure of this timeless libation.

Whether you’re hosting a formal gathering or simply enjoying a quiet evening, the El Presidente is a choice that speaks to your impeccable taste. Read on to discover the secrets behind crafting this exquisite cocktail.

Key Facts About the El Presidente

  • Alcohol Volume: Approximately 22% ABV
  • Calories: Approximately 150 kcal
  • Carbohydrates: Approximately 7 g
  • Preferred Glass: Coupe glass
  • Typical Garnish: Orange twist

Interesting Facts about the El Presidente

  • The El Presidente was a favorite during the Prohibition era, enjoyed by Americans visiting Cuba.
  • Its name is believed to have been in honor of Cuban President Gerardo Machado.
  • The cocktail’s popularity soared in the 1920s and 1930s, symbolizing the high society of Havana.

El Presidente Cocktail

Tasting Notes

The El Presidente cocktail is a delicate balance of sweet and dry, with a hint of citrus. The white rum provides a smooth base, while the dry vermouth adds a subtle herbal complexity. The orange curaçao brings a touch of citrus sweetness, and the grenadine offers a rich, red hue and a hint of pomegranate.

This cocktail is ideal for those who enjoy a refined, not-too-sweet drink. It’s perfect for pre-dinner sipping, serving as an elegant aperitif. The El Presidente suits occasions that call for a touch of class, from formal events to relaxed evenings at home.

History of the El Presidente

The origins of the El Presidente cocktail are steeped in the rich cultural tapestry of Cuba. Created in the early 20th century, this drink quickly became a symbol of the island’s vibrant nightlife and luxurious lifestyle. It was during the Prohibition era that the cocktail gained fame, as thirsty Americans flocked to Havana to indulge in the forbidden pleasures of alcohol.

The cocktail’s name is a nod to the political figures of the time, often associated with President Machado. The El Presidente’s reputation for sophistication made it a staple in the most exclusive clubs and bars of Havana. Its legacy has endured, remaining a beloved choice for those seeking a taste of Cuban elegance.

El Presidente Ingredients

  • White Rum (1 1/2 oz or 45 ml): The backbone of the cocktail, providing a smooth and clean canvas for the other flavors.
  • Dry Vermouth (3/4 oz or 22 ml): Adds a herbal note and balances the sweetness of the rum and curaçao.
  • Orange Curaçao (1/4 oz or 7 ml): A sweet orange-flavored liqueur that introduces a citrusy depth.
  • Grenadine (1 bar spoon or about 5 ml): Offers a touch of color and a whisper of pomegranate sweetness.
  • Orange Twist: The garnish that provides an aromatic finish and a pop of color.

“The El Presidente cocktail is a toast to Cuba’s golden age, embodying the island’s spirit of celebration and sophistication.”

Ingredients for El Presidente Cocktail

El Presidente Method

Chilling the Glass

Begin by chilling your coupe glass. This can be done by placing it in the freezer or filling it with ice water. A chilled glass will keep your cocktail at the perfect temperature.

Preparing the Mix

Fill a mixing glass with ice to cool the ingredients as they blend. Add the measured amounts of white rum, dry vermouth, orange curaçao, and grenadine to the glass.

Stirring, Not Shaking

Stir the mixture well for about 30 seconds. This method ensures a silky texture without diluting the cocktail too much. Once chilled, discard the ice from the coupe glass if used for chilling.

Finishing Touches

Strain the cocktail into the chilled coupe glass. Garnish with an orange twist to enhance the aroma and add a touch of elegance.

Serving Suggestion

The El Presidente is traditionally served in a coupe glass, which allows the aromas to concentrate and enhances the sipping experience. The wide bowl also showcases the cocktail’s vibrant color.

Garnish with an orange twist, expressing the oils over the drink before placing it in the glass. This adds a fragrant citrus note that complements the cocktail’s flavors.

Elevating the El Presidente

  • Use Premium Rum: Opt for a high-quality white rum to ensure a smooth and refined taste.
  • Homemade Grenadine: Consider making your own grenadine for a fresher, more authentic flavor.
  • Experiment with Vermouth: Try different brands or types of dry vermouth to find your preferred herbal profile.

El Presidente Cocktail Preparation

Substitutions and Alternatives for the El Presidente

If orange curaçao is unavailable, you can substitute it with another orange liqueur like triple sec or Cointreau. For a less sweet option, use a splash of orange juice and a dash of simple syrup.

Similar cocktails include the Manhattan and the Martini, which share the same spirit-forward and stirred characteristics.

Add a Twist

For a modern take, infuse your rum with tropical fruits or spices. Another variation is to add a splash of soda water for a lighter, effervescent version.

Consider using aged rum for a deeper, more complex flavor profile. A dash of bitters can also introduce an additional layer of taste.

Preferred Liquors for the El Presidente

Select a white rum that is smooth and not overly sweet. Brands like Havana Club or Bacardi Superior are excellent choices for an authentic El Presidente.

For vermouth, opt for a dry, high-quality brand such as Noilly Prat or Dolin to complement the rum’s flavor.

Similar Cocktails to the El Presidente

The Daiquiri is another Cuban classic that features rum, citrus, and sweetness. The Negroni, while gin-based, shares the El Presidente’s balance of sweet and bitter.

The Old Fashioned offers a similar spirit-forward experience, with a base of whiskey instead of rum.

Food Pairings to go with the El Presidente

Classic Cuban sandwiches or light tapas such as ceviche pair beautifully with the El Presidente. For a more adventurous pairing, try spicy Asian appetizers to contrast the cocktail’s sweetness.

Chocolate desserts also complement the drink’s flavors, especially when garnished with an orange twist.

El Presidente FAQs

Can I use dark rum instead of white rum? While white rum is traditional, dark rum can be used for a richer flavor.

Is it necessary to stir the cocktail for 30 seconds? Yes, stirring for 30 seconds ensures proper dilution and chilling.

Can I make the El Presidente in advance? It’s best enjoyed fresh, but you can mix the ingredients without ice and chill until ready to serve.

El Presidente_001

El Presidente

The El Presidente is a classic Cuban cocktail, a smooth blend of rum, vermouth, curaçao, and grenadine, offering a delightful balance between sweetness and bitterness, perfect for a sophisticated evening affair.
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 0 minutes
0 minutes
Total Time 5 minutes
Course Cocktail
Cuisine Cuban
Servings 1 cocktail
Calories 150 kcal


  • Mixing glass
  • Bar spoon
  • Strainer
  • Coupe glass


  • 1 1/2 oz white rum
  • 3/4 oz dry vermouth
  • 1/4 oz orange curaçao
  • 1 bar spoon grenadine about 1 tsp or 5 ml
  • Orange twist for garnish


  • Chill a coupe glass by placing it in the freezer or filling it with ice water.
  • Fill a mixing glass with ice.
  • Add the white rum, dry vermouth, orange curaçao, and grenadine to the mixing glass.
  • Stir the mixture well for about 30 seconds until properly chilled.
  • Discard the ice from the coupe glass if used for chilling.
  • Strain the cocktail into the chilled coupe glass.
  • Garnish with an orange twist.


The El Presidente cocktail is best enjoyed fresh, so make it right before you plan to serve. The quality of the rum is crucial, so choose a good white rum for the best taste. Adjust the sweetness by varying the amount of grenadine to your preference.
Keyword Aperitif, bitter, Citrus, Classic Cocktail, El Presidente, Elegant, Not Shaken, Stirred, Sweet

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