El Presidente from ‘Cuban Cocktails’

This week, we’re spotlighting recipes from Cuban Cocktails: 100 Classic and Modern Drinks by Ravi DeRossi, Jane Danger, and Alla Lapushchik of Cienfuegos (Sterling Epicure), a Cuban rum bar in New York’s East Village. Try making the recipe at home and let us know what you think!

Photograph by Gabi Porter

by Ravi DeRossi, Jane Danger, and Alla Lapushchik

Makes 1 drink
Serve in a coupe glass

Several bars in Havana claim to have invented El Presidente, although David Wondrich points to American expat Eddie Woelke as its creator. The recipe first appeared in print in a newspaper in 1919, so the president in question would have been Mario García Menocal y Deop, second president of the second republic. Charles Baker called the drink the “Habana Presidente, now known to many, but sound enough in its own right for listing in any spiritual volume. This has long been one of Cuba’s favorite drinks, and every visiting Americano should go to La Florida and get one.” 

El Presidente was the house cocktail at Club El Chico in Manhattan’s Greenwich Village, where America first encountered the rhumba in 1925.

¾ ounce Dolin Blanc vermouth
¾ ounce El Dorado 3 year rum
¾ ounce La Favorite rhum blanc
¼ ounce curaçao
1 bar spoon grenadine (recipe below)
Lemon for garnish

Stir all ingredients over ice, and strain into a chilled coupe. Twist lemon rind over top, and discard.

2 cups pomegranate juice
1 cup white sugar
teaspoon rose water
Peel of 1 large orange

Cook all ingredients over medium heat for 10 minutes. Strain out peel. The mixture will keep in the refrigerator for two or three weeks.

Reprinted with permission from Cuban Cocktails: 100 Classic and Modern Drinks 

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