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El Presidente is a fantastic rum cocktail. It pairs dry vermouth and light rum with orange curaçao and grenadine. It is slightly sweet, yet it has a delightful balance of flavors that is sure to delight any palate.
This is a classic recipe that is found in a number of bartending guides from the 20th century. One of its first printings was in the famous "The Savoy Cocktail Book," an icon in the cocktail world written by Harry Craddock in 1930. With this recipe, you'll get a taste of the great drinks that came out of the Prohibition-era.
You will find this to be a fantastic drink for summer, though it works well any time of the year. Since it does have a touch of elegance and is rather refined for a rum cocktail, it makes a fabulous dinner drink as well.
In a cocktail shaker filled with ice, pour all of the ingredients.
Tips and Tricks
Pick up a good light rum and use the same dry vermouth you'd pour into your martini. For the curaçao, go with a top-shelf brand like Bols or Senior and skip the super cheap bottles at the bottom of the liquor store shelf. You can also use other high-end orange liqueurs, such as a triple sec like Cointreau or the brandy-based Grand Marnier.
The grenadine may only be a dash, but should not be an afterthought that's casually tossed in. Search out a real grenadine that's made with pomegranate or make your own grenadine at home. It's such a vital ingredient in the bar that its worth it and every drink you will notice the difference in every drink you mix it into.
A Modern El Presidente
The classic El Presidente recipe is different than a far more modern creation that goes by the same name. At some point in the late 1900s, the recipe transformed to become more of a daiquiri that pairs lime and pineapple juices with the rum and grenadine.
The result is a sweet-sour tropical cocktail that is good but may not be to everyone's liking. The original recipe is arguably much better, though this one is worth trying if you're up for an adventure.
Since it has a heavier fruit flavor, the choice in rum is not as critical, so feel free to save some money here. And yet, you will notice a significant improvement if you choose fresh lime juice and a quality grenadine.