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El Presidente

The El Presidente is a Cuban cocktail with a storied history, and it’s a must-try for any cocktail enthusiast. Made with white rum, orange curaçao, French dry vermouth, and grenadine, this drink is both sweet and slightly bitter, making it a perfect slow sipper. The El Presidente cocktail was popularized during the Prohibition era and has since become a classic.

El Presidente Cocktail

The original recipe calls for blanc vermouth, which is a harder to find variety of vermouth. However, many modern variations use dry vermouth instead. Despite this substitution, the El Presidente remains a favorite among cocktail aficionados and is a staple in many bars and restaurants. Whether you’re enjoying a night out or making drinks at home, the El Presidente is sure to impress.


If you’re a fan of rum cocktails, you’ve probably heard of the El Presidente. This classic cocktail has a rich history that dates back to the early 1900s in Cuba. The drink was created during a time when the country was experiencing a lot of political turmoil, including the presidency of Mario García Menocal from 1913 to 1921 and the Prohibition era in the United States.

el presidente cocktail served with orange twist garnish

There are two different stories about who the cocktail is named after. Some say it was named after Mario García Menocal, who was the Cuban president at the time the drink was created. Others believe it was named after Gerardo Machado, who was also a Cuban president and ruled the country from 1925 to 1933. Regardless of who it was named after, the El Presidente quickly became a popular drink among the Cuban upper class.

See also  12 Blanc Vermouth Cocktails to Drink

The El Presidente was said to have originated in the Jockey Club in Havana, where it was created by bartender Eddie Woelke. However, another popular story claims that the drink was actually created by Constantino Ribalaigua, who was the head bartender at the El Chico bar in Havana. Ribalaigua was known for creating some of the most popular cocktails in Cuba during the 1920s and 1930s, including the Daiquiri and the Mary Pickford.

Despite the debate over who actually created the El Presidente, there is no denying that it became a staple in Cuban cocktail history. The drink was even mentioned in a 1928 Cuban bartenders’ association’s official manual, which recommended using French vermouth to make the cocktail.

How to Make It

El Presidente Cocktail

El Presidente

Yield: 1
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes

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.


  • 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

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Choosing Your Rum

The best rum for El Presidente is a light, white rum. Some good options include Bacardi, Flor de Caña, and Havana Club. However, you can also experiment with different rums to find the one that suits your taste.

See also  Cuba Libre


El Presidente is a classic Cuban cocktail that has been popular for decades. As with any popular cocktail, there are many variations of the original recipe that have been created over the years. Here are a few variations that you might want to try:

Dark Rum Variation

For a richer, more complex flavor, try swapping out the white rum in the original recipe for dark rum. This variation is perfect for discerning drinkers who enjoy a stronger, more robust cocktail. Simply add dark rum instead of white rum, and enjoy the unique flavor profile that this variation offers.

Add Lime Juice

If you’re looking for a refreshing summer cocktail, try adding lime juice to your El Presidente. This variation is perfect for hot summer days, and it adds a bright, citrusy flavor to the classic recipe. Simply add a splash of lime juice to your cocktail, and enjoy the refreshing taste.

Florida Variation

For a tropical twist on the classic El Presidente, try adding a splash of orange juice to your cocktail. This variation is perfect for those who want to enjoy a taste of Florida in their cocktail. Simply add a small amount of orange juice to your cocktail, and enjoy the fruity flavor.

Obscurity Variation

If you’re looking for a unique twist on the classic El Presidente, try adding a dash of absinthe to your cocktail. This variation is perfect for those who want to enjoy a more complex, mysterious flavor. Simply add a small amount of absinthe to your cocktail, and enjoy the unique taste.

El Presidente
Please drink responsibly, be fully accountable with your alcohol consumption, and show others respect.

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Paul Kushner

Written by Paul Kushner

Founder and CEO of MyBartender. Graduated from Penn State University. He always had a deep interest in the restaurant and bar industry. His restaurant experience began in 1997 at the age of 14 as a bus boy. By the time he turned 17 he was serving tables, and by 19 he was bartending/bar managing 6-7 nights a week.

In 2012, after a decade and a half of learning all facets of the industry, Paul opened his first restaurant/bar. In 2015, a second location followed, the latter being featured on The Food Network’s Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives.

Follow them on LinkedIn, Instagram, Facebook, Youtube, Google Guide and MuckRack.

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