The Story Behind The El Presidente
El Presidente has recently begun to reemerge from decades of relative obscurity, with good reason. When done right, it is a dry and elegant riff on the Martini, stirred and served up, enhanced by subtle tropical flavors that appeal to those who enjoy a quirkier take on a spirit- forward drink.
Until recently, the recipe for the cocktail, which looks delicious on paper, would typically yield disappointing results for bartenders. I chalked it up to what bartenders typically encounter when attempting to replicate a Prohibition-era cocktail: Either one or more of the ingredients is no longer in production or has significantly changed; or our collective American palate has changed. In the case of El Presidente it was the former.
Happily, last year, Haus Alpenz released a revival of a Vermouth de Chambery called Comoz. It has a drier finish than the dry and blanc vermouths I had attempted to work with before, to no avail. Even better, the options for white Cuban-style rums available on the global market have dramatically improved. Now, in addition to the usual suspects like Bacardi and Flor de Cana, one can get their hands on Ron Marti, Probitas, or Diplomatico Planas (the latter is my favorite due to its slightly elevated ABV and full, creamy texture). The gates to recreating a pristine El Presidente are flung wide open.
This recipe originally appeared in the VinePair article, "Taste American History With Classic Rum Drinks and Contemporary Riffs," written by Shannon Mustipher.