El Presidente Cocktail Recipe

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El Presidente Nutrition Facts






Created by

Nic Polotnianko

I fell in love with the art of mixology 6 years ago. Since then, I've honed my skills, crafting a myriad of cocktail recipes, and sharing my passion with other enthusiasts.

Last Updated: January 7, 2024


El Presidente cocktail is a classic Cuban cocktail that dates back to the 1920s. It was named in honor of the Cuban president Gerardo Machado and was popularized during the Prohibition era in the United States. This sophisticated cocktail is often associated with high society and elegant gatherings.

  • Origin: Cuba
  • Time period: 1920s
  • Associated with: Prohibition era, high society, and elegant gatherings

How El Presidente Tastes?

El Presidente is a smooth, well-balanced cocktail with a hint of sweetness and a touch of tartness. The combination of rum, orange curaçao, and vermouth creates a complex flavor profile that is both refreshing and satisfying.

Interesting facts about El Presidente

  • El Presidente was named after Cuban president Gerardo Machado.
  • The cocktail gained popularity during the Prohibition era in the United States.
  • It is often associated with high society and elegant gatherings.


White Rum

  • Why: White rum is the base spirit; it provides a clean, sweet canvas for the other flavors.
  • Flavor: Without it, you'd miss the heart of the cocktail. Too much, and it would overpower the delicate balance.
  • Alternatives: Aged rum could be used for a deeper flavor, but that would make it a different drink.

Mary Mitkina

Orange Curaçao

  • Why: Adds a refined orange flavor, depth and complexity.
  • Flavor: Skipping this means losing out on the signature citrus undertones. Too much could make the cocktail overly sweet.
  • Alternatives: Triple sec or Cointreau can be alternatives but will result in a slightly different orange profile.

Alex Green

Dry Vermouth

  • Why: It provides a herbaceous, dry contrast to the sweetness of the rum and curaçao.
  • Flavor: Its absence would leave the cocktail too sweet; an excess would cause the drink to become too dry and herb-heavy.
  • Alternatives: A different dry vermouth could be used for a subtle variation in botanical notes.

Emma Rose


  • Why: Grenadine adds a touch of color and a whisper of pomegranate sweetness.
  • Flavor: Without it, the cocktail loses some complexity and the signature hue. Too much can make it cloying.
  • Alternatives: A raspberry syrup could be used for a different kind of sweetness and color.

Mary Mitkina

Orange Peel

  • Why: The oils expressed from the peel enhance the citrus aroma, engaging the nose before the palate.
  • Flavor: Omitting this would rob the drink of its aromatic zest. No direct impact on sweetness or dryness, though.
  • Alternatives: Lemon peel could give a brighter, sharper nose if desired.

Alex Green

Maraschino Cherry

  • Why: As a garnish, it adds an eye-catching element and a sweet end note if eaten.
  • Flavor: A cherry won’t change the drink's flavor profile much, unless consumed.
  • Alternatives: A twist of lemon peel or a small edible flower could make for an alternative garnish.

Emma Rose

Recipe. How to make El Presidente Drink

  1. Chill a coupe glass by filling it with ice and water.
  2. Combine ingredients in a mixing glass: 2 oz white rum, 1 oz orange curaçao, 1 oz dry vermouth, and 1 tsp grenadine.
  3. Fill the mixing glass with ice and stir well to chill and dilute the cocktail.
  4. Discard the ice and water from the chilled coupe glass.
  5. Strain the cocktail into the chilled coupe glass.
  6. Express the orange peel over the cocktail by holding it over the glass and giving it a good twist to release the oils. Discard the peel.
  7. Garnish with a maraschino cherry.

Pro Tips

  • Use high-quality rum for the best flavor.
  • Chill the glass before serving to keep the cocktail cold longer.
  • Express the orange peel over the cocktail to enhance the citrus aroma.

Perfect Pairings


  • Cheese platters: The smooth citrus notes of an El Presidente pairs wonderfully with a selection of mild to medium cheeses.
  • Tapas: Particularly with seafood tapas, as the lightness of the cocktail complements the freshness of the seafood.

Main Courses

  • Grilled white fish: A dish with subtle flavors benefits from the cocktail's crispness and slight sweetness.


  • Lemon sorbet: For a refreshing end to a meal, the citrus in both the sorbet and cocktail will create a harmonious experience.

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What you could change in El Presidente

  • White rum can be substituted with dark rum for a deeper flavor.
  • Orange curaçao can be replaced with Grand Marnier or Cointreau.
  • Dry vermouth can be substituted with sweet vermouth for a sweeter cocktail.

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And of course - twists🍹

Aged El Presidente

  • Ingredients: Use aged rum instead of white rum, add a dash of aromatic bitters.
  • Recipe: Follow the original recipe but substitute white rum with aged rum for a richer, more complex flavor. Add a dash of bitters for enhanced spice notes.
  • Taste Variation: Expect a deeper flavor profile with a hint of spice; it's El Presidente with a seasoned attitude.

Tropical El Presidente

  • Ingredients: Add a splash of coconut water and use a tropical-flavored vermouth.
  • Recipe: Incorporate a splash of coconut water into the mixture and utilize a tropical-flavored vermouth.
  • Taste Variation: The tropical elements transport this classic to a beachside cabana, adding a refreshing, exotic twist.

El Presidente Rosé

  • Ingredients: Substitute dry vermouth with rosé wine and add a small amount of lemon juice.
  • Recipe: Replace the dry vermouth with an equal part of a dry rosé wine and add a squeeze of fresh lemon juice for a zesty take.
  • Taste Variation: A playful pink hue and a livelier citrus kick for those summer soirées.

In case you forgot basics how to make El Presidente

Place your chosen strainer on top of the shaker or mixing glass, ensuring a secure fit. Pour the cocktail into a glass through the strainer, which will catch solid ingredients and ice. If double straining, hold the fine mesh strainer between the shaker and the glass.

Learn everything on how to strain

Insert the spoon into the glass until it touches the bottom. Keep the back of the spoon against the inside wall of the glass, and stir in a smooth, circular motion. The goal is to swirl the ice and ingredients together without churning or splashing.

Learn everything on how to stir

Garnishing a bar drink depends on the type of garnish and the cocktail. Generally, it involves preparing the garnish (like cutting a citrus wheel or picking a sprig of mint), and then adding it to the drink in a visually appealing way (like perching it on the rim or floating it on top).

Learn everything on garnishing

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Frequently Asked Questions on El Presidente

Can I use a different type of glass to serve El Presidente?

Certainly! While a coupe glass is traditionally used for the El Presidente, feel free to use any glass you prefer. A martini glass or an Old Fashioned glass would work just as well.

Is there a non-alcoholic substitute for rum and vermouth?

Non-alcoholic spirit alternatives that mimic the flavor profiles of rum and vermouth are available on the market. Be sure to choose one that is suitable for mixing in cocktails. For the orange curacao, you can use an orange extract or syrup.

What is the best time to enjoy El Presidente?

El Presidente is a versatile cocktail that can be enjoyed at any time. Its crisp and refreshing taste makes it a great aperitif before dinner, but it can also be a sophisticated choice for a nightcap.

How to store my leftover ingredients?

Most spirits like rum, vermouth, and orange curaçao don't require refrigeration and will last quite a while at room temperature. Grenadine should be refrigerated after opening and consumed within a few months for the best taste.

How can I adjust the sweetness or tartness of the El Presidente cocktail?

Adjusting the sweetness or tartness comes down to personal taste. You can increase the amount of grenadine for more sweetness, or add more dry vermouth to enhance the tartness. Remember, the key to a good cocktail is balance.

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