The cocktail is an art form that peaked in the middle of the 20th century and has been in rapid decline since. As a young lad, I was schooled in the fine art of cocktailing by my father and grandfathers, I learned many valuable lessons that I plan to pass on. I also want to resurrect some of the old classics that vastly surpass the sugary & fruity concoctions made today with their simplicity, elegance and bold flavors. Most of the time I will focus on one drink, and to provide, at least in my opinion, the definitive recipe, but hope to expand to other related topics as I see fit. Please mix yourself a cocktail, read, drink, and enjoy!

Saturday, August 14, 2010

El Presidente

Right on the heels of the Old Cuban, a fantastic drink that is not really old nor Cuban, I bring to you the El Presidente, one that is both old and Cuban. This is a rum based drink that is more reminiscent of a Manhattan, and will be a pleasant surprise to your palate if you always associate rum with excessively sweet and fruity cocktails.

As with many of the fine cocktails we have enjoyed together, this one has its origins during prohibition. Also like many others, this one was created by an American bartender who had gone overseas to share his God given gift of cocktail creation with the world, and the hoards of Americans who had to leave the country just to get a good drink. The man credited with the creation of this masterpiece is Eddie Woelke. After bouncing around in the US and Europe a bit, Mr. Woelke settled on Havana, an excellent choice in my opinion, at the Jockey Club. In a shrewd political move he named the drink after then Cuban President Gerardo Machado.

Enough history, let’s get onto the drink. In an ice filled cocktail mixer, start with 1 ½ ounces of a quality aged rum, I am currently pouring Cruzan Estate Single Barrel, but any of the better rums work well in this drink. Next add ¾ ounce of dry vermouth and ½ ounce of orange curacao (Cointreau can be substituted). Add ½ teaspoon of grenadine, try and find one that actually uses sugar and fruit juice instead of just high fructose corn syrup and “flavorings,” I like this one. Stir and strain into a cocktail glass, garnish with an orange twist or cocktail cherries.

El Presidente
1 ½ oz aged rum
¾ oz dry vermouth
½ oz curacao
½ tsp grenadine
Stir all ingredients in an ice filled mixing glass. Strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with an orange twist or cocktail cherries.

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