12 January 2009

The El Presidente Cocktail

In the wake of the big Festivus Cubano and its voluminous leftovers, I decided to make a round of the Cuban cocktail that goes by the name El Presidente. Hemingway was a fan of many Caribbean cocktails and perhaps one of these passed his lips at some point.

Follow the above link for a recipe, but in the handful of times I've made it, El Presidente has been pretty forgiving of the ratios. Feel free to use a splash here, a splash there, add something nuevo, it's all bueno. The important part is to focus on the citrus flavors. In the pictured variation I used lime juice instead of lemon juice and fresh pomegranate juice as opposed to grenadine: I feel this is fresher and better tasting than the straight recipe. And that's a wedge of clementine floating in the glass, not just a strip of peel. A dash of grapefruit bitters finished things off nicely.

I'll say it again: the importance of citrus cannot be ignored when it comes to proper cocktails. And I'm referring both to the use of fresh squeezed juices (never canned or bottled!) as well as the right liqueurs for the right occasion. My home bar includes Gran Gala (a delicious and affordable substitute for Gran Marinier), Orange Curaçao (made from the peels of the laraha citrus), and of course the elegant Cointreau, which is currently being promoted by the lovely Dita Von Teese.


The Wine Commonsewer said...

Yes Sir! Real pomegranate juice is bound to work better than Grenadine, which I don't think has had any pomegranate in it for twenty years or more.

Plus, there's all those health benefits inherent in pomegranates.

The drink looks and sounds delicious.

Ramblin' Wino said...

Have you ever made a Pisco Sour? I made some the other night. I'm really into the Peruvian thing now. For me,it's been a whole new world to discover.

Benito said...


You can make your own grenadine by boiling down pure pomegranate juice with sugar, but I'd rather avoid the added sweetness and just enjoy the joy of the real juice.

Ramblin' Wino,

I've had one in a bar before that specialized in classic cocktails, but I don't keep Pisco around the house. At some point you have to draw the line and determine what liquors you need with the space available, and I try to pick ones that will work with multiple cocktails I like.

Ramblin' Wino said...

You could always store it under your pillow. Or is that the space your referring too? But seriously, I agree. But in my case, I find for now, serving Pisco Sours makes friends happy - they always expect me to come up with something new and different.

Maria Jette said...

I was just enjoying an El Presidente tonight, and looking around for variations on the recipe... just want to put in a plug for a FANTASTIC non-Rose's, non-Fee's pomegranate syrup: Routin 1883's "Grenade," made with actual pomegranate, as opposed to either of those other abominations. I get mine at a coffee wholesaler in Minneapolis, but you can find it online here an there. It's only drawback is that it's so DELICIOUS that you'll want to eat it in spoonfuls!

Anyhow, I love El Presidente (both the cocktail and the new US version!), and it's largely due to this stuff, and the excellent Senior brand of curaçao.

Maria Jette said...

One more thing-- I just looked at the recipe referenced in this post, and see it's quite different from the one I've been using lately. Usually I like lemon in just about everything, but I really like this cocktail in this lemonless version:
1.5 oz light rum
.75 oz dry vermouth
1 tsp curaçao
1 tsp grenadine (Routin 1883 "Grenade")

Stir with ice, strain into glass. Garnish w cherry and a nice broad swath of orange rind, squeezed over the finished drink and dropped in.

Really pretty color, and the garnishes are elegant.

Benito said...


Thanks for the info on *good* grenadine and alternate recipes!