El Presidente Cocktail

El Presidente Cocktail

The Spruce / S&C Design Studios

Prep: 3 mins
Cook: 0 mins
Total: 3 mins
Serving: 1 serving
Yield: 1 cocktail

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. The recipe is generally credited to Eddie Woelke who left the U.S. for Cuba during Prohibition. It's a drink that offers 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.


Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

  2. In a cocktail shaker filled with ice, pour all of the ingredients.

  3. Shake well.

  4. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

  5. Serve and enjoy.


  • Choosing quality ingredients is going to significantly improve your El Presidente. Like most classic cocktails, it is rather transparent, so each element that goes into it should be chosen carefully.
  • 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 it's worth it, and you will notice the difference in every drink you mix it into.

Recipe Variation

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 a sweet-sour tropical cocktail that is good but may not be to everyone's liking: shake 2 ounces light rum, 1/2 ounce each lime juice and pineapple juice, and a dash of grenadine with ice. Strain it into a cocktail glass.

How Strong Is a El Presidente?

When you see a drink that's made almost entirely of alcohol, you can expect it to be pretty strong. That's the case with El Presidente, which has an average alcohol content around 24 percent ABV (48 proof).