In some circles, the El Presidente is otherwise known as a Cuban Martini. It’s also one of those cocktails with slippery origins; in my Difford’s Encyclopedia of Cocktails, this is the fourth of four known El Presidente recipes printed. Variations include:
- El Presidente #1: Light rum, pineapple juice, lime juice, grenadine; a slim change-up on a classic daiquiri, replacing its simple syrup with pineapple juice. (Which, now that I think about it, is a great idea.)
- El Presidente #2: Light rum, dry vermouth, bitters. Difford’s describes it as “bone dry” and “rather like a rum-based, old-school Martini.”
- El Presidente #3: Light rum, dry vermouth, Cointreau, grenadine. A Trader Vic’s recipe, of which Vic himself allegedly said, “This is the real recipe.” (But I think he claims that about all of his concoctions? At least about the Mai Tai, which he said he flat-out invented.)
- El Presidente #4: Light rum, dry vermouth, Cointreau. “Dry but not bone dry, with balanced fruit from the triple sec and vermouth.” Ding ding ding ding ding, we have a winner!
Now that I’ve tasted this, I might actually propose a fifth version with a splash of club soda or even tonic. The former because of the mojito-Cuban link, the latter because this El Presidente also manages to remind me of a nice, sweaty gin and tonic, which is actually one of my most favorite things to drink on the first hot day of summer.
But as-is is still a-plenty good. Crisp, light… dare I say, in its own weird way, Moscato d’Asti-like? (There I go with the fizzy thing again.)
Just try it.
El Presidente #4
(Taken pretty much straight-up from Difford’s Encyclopedia of Cocktails)
1 ½ ounces Bacardi Superior light rum
¾ ounce Noilly Prat dry vermouth
½ ounce Cointreau
Lemon, lime and/or orange twists, to garnish
Pour all liquid ingredients into an ice-filled mixing glass. Stir briskly with a bar spoon for about a minute. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass and add your garnish.