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Two friends with a shared love for Classic Cocktails, paying homage to the pre-prohibition era. We do parties!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

El Presidente

Photo: T.J. McLachlan

The history of individual cocktails during the prohibition era can be quite hazy. Case in point - our third drink being profiled: El Presidente.

During the Great Experiment, American bartenders left the United States to tend bars overseas in exotic countries that were warm and open to alcohol. One of those countries was Cuba where bartenders (whether they were American or Cuban) invented several classic cocktails to assauge the tastes of American tourists. It was at this time that we received the Mary Pickford, the Rosita (for a great glimpse of what the Rosita looks like, check out Andrew's facebook profile), the Daiquiri (including Hemingway's version, as seen in the post below), the Cuba Libra, and, of course, El Presidente.  

Now, it is reasonable to assume that this classic cocktail was name for or after a president, but which one is definitely up for debate. One story is that it was invented by Eddie Woelke, an American Bartender who fled the US to set up shop in Cuba (after trips to Nice and Paris), at the Jockey Club in Cuba for then president Gerardo Machado.

An opposing view is that an unknown bartender at the Vista Alegre Club in Santiago, for an earlier presidente, Mario Garcia Menocal. Whatever the story, it undoubtedly arose in Cuba and its history is murky - but that should be expected as it is a history that goes down in bars, when people are drinking.

(Mario Garcia Menocal)                                  (Gerardo Machado)

The drink calls for aged White Rum (1 1/2 oz), Dry Vermouth (3/4 oz), Orange Curacao (1/4 oz), and Grenadine (1/2 tsp). There is always a temptation to overuse Orange Curacao, but in this case it is best to let the Aged Rum's character take centre stage, paring down on the orange liqueur's sweetness, and finishing the sip with the dry vermouth. Our homemade grenadine is a great touch to this drink, giving the drink its great colour and adding a final flavour to the palate. 


  1. Great, great and great. Homemade grenadine once and you'll never look back.

  2. Thanks for posting, Rachael! Love the support. Can't wait to mix up all the ingredients!