El Presidente Cocktail
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El Presidente

Invented in the early twentieth century, the El Presidente cocktail was created in Cuba. This drink is very easy to make but has a good complexity of flavor. There are fruity and herbal notes which make it really interesting, and of course, the use of white rum adds a little taste of the exotic.

About & History

The exact origins and inventor of this cocktail are not known. However, it seems most likely that it is named for Cuban President Mario García Menocal. He was in power until 1921. At that point, Cuba was already a popular place for Americans to visit on their vacation.

When Prohibition was introduced in the U.S., it encouraged even more American citizens to head to Havana so they could enjoy a quality alcoholic cocktail in the sunshine. Some of the most popular drinks would have been the Daiquiri and the Mojito, and the Presidente is sadly not as well known as those famous sisters.


The delicious flavor profile of this interesting drink makes it a classic in its own right. Orange curaçao and dry vermouth blend beautifully with white rum and just a hint of grenadine. Once Prohibition had ended, the cocktail was brought back to the States by returning tourists, but it never caught on.

el presidente cocktail served with orange twist garnish

In fact, this particular beverage disappeared altogether from bar menus in the United States by the mid-twentieth century. It has been saved from obscurity by bartenders and drinks writers who love to research historic recipes, and who find new inspiration in old books.


Our recipe is based on that developed by spirits guru Simon Ford. However, it is simple to tweak the recipe to amend the flavor to suit your own palate, just as other bartenders have done through the years. Use a lightly aged rum if you want to add more body to your finished beverage. A gently barrel-aged spirit will be soft, with added complexity. However, it won’t be so strong that it throws the overall drink out of balance.

The original drink is likely to have used white vermouth, which is only semi-dry. This stops the vermouth element from being too heavy and impacting too much on the drink’s composition. You can also reduce the quantity of curaçao if the cocktail has too much orange for your liking. It is simple to amend the quantities slightly to make a finished drink that suits your taste.

El Presidente Cocktail Ingredient List

  • 1.5 oz white rum
  • 0.75 oz dry vermouth
  • 0.25 oz orange curaçao
  • 2 dash grenadine


  1. Fill a mixing glass with ice and add the rum, curaçao, vermouth, and grenadine
  2. Stir until well chilled
  3. Strain into a chilled Martini glass and serve immediately

This delightful Cuban beverage will liven up any party. It has a very exotic combination of flavors that will have your guests smacking their lips. We’re so pleased that this drink was rescued from obscurity by the drinks writers who make it their business to revive historic and lost drinks recipes from old books and compilations.

Final Thoughts

The El Presidente is a great option if you’re looking for a relaxing drink after a long day. This is a simple cocktail you can make for family and friends. It uses few ingredients and most you’ll already have on hand!

Did you make any adjustments to the recipe? Let us know in the comments below!

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