Bahama Bob's Rumstyles

Thursday, August 28, 2014

El Presidente: The Lost Cuban Cocktail

Jockey Club
     Every now and again I run across one of the old classic cocktails from Prohibition in Cuba.   Cuba was the hub for sophisticated Americans to travel for fun and legal cocktails during of "The Great Experiment" that lasted from 1920 until 1933.   Many of the famous cocktail lounges and showrooms make Old Havana the Las Vegas of that era.   Out of this era came many famous cocktails, many of which are still very popular today.  One of the lost cocktails of the era was the El Presidente.

     This cocktail is believed to have been invented by an American barman at the Jockey Club in Old Havana named Eddie Woelke.  During that era, Old Havana was alive with American celebrities, aristocrats and politicians.  People Like Ernest Hemingway, Clark Gable, Marlene Dietrich, Spencer Tracy and many more would flock to Havana to enjoy the nightlife and legal booze.  El Presidente was one of the very popular cocktails of those days, but today it seems to have gotten lost in the era of Vodka and speed bar cocktails.

     The El Presidente  has all of the true classic ultra premium cocktail hallmarks, the true flavor is only attained when it is made with the proper ingredients, cheap versions just kill its marvelous flavor.  Basil Woon, one of the society correspondents of the era call it the "aristocrat of cocktails", and there were many others who were of the same opinion when it came to the El Presidente.

El Presidente  (Original Recipe)
  • 1 1/2 oz. Rum
  • 3/4 oz. Curacao
  • 3/4 oz. Dry Vermouth
  • 1/2 tsp. Grenadine
Stir ingredients well with cracked ice then strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Color should pour a clear deep orange color, garnish with an orange peel.

Bahama Bob's El Presidente
  • 1 1/2 oz. Diplomatico Blanco Rum
  • 3/4 oz. Pierre Ferrand Dry Curacao
  • 3/4 oz. Dolin de Chambery Dry Vermouth
  • 1/2 Tsp. Dekuypers Pomegranate Liqueur
Place all ingredients in a cocktail shaker, and shake until chilled.  Strain into a chilled cocktail glass and float a twisted orange peel for a garnish.

     This is a wonderfully dry cocktail, not one for people with a sweet palate, but a very nice and very flavorful one anyway.