El Presidente (cocktail)

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El Presidente
El Presidente Cocktail.jpg
Primary alcohol by volume
ServedStraight up; without ice
Standard garnishtwist of orange peel
Standard drinkware
Cocktail Glass (Martini).svg
Cocktail glass
Commonly used ingredients
PreparationStir well with ice, then strain into glass. Garnish and serve.

The El Presidente is a mix of rum, orange curaçao, dry vermouth, and grenadine.


The El Presidente earned its acclaim in Havana, Cuba during the 1920s through the 1940s during the American Prohibition. It quickly became the preferred drink of the Cuban upper class.

There are two rival stories of who the cocktail is named after. One is Gerardo Machado who was president 1925-1933. The other is Mario García Menocal who was president 1913-1921. Machado gave Pan American Airways (Pan Am) exclusive rights to fly the Florida-Havana route. This may be the reason that Pan Am served a variation of El Presidente on their larger planes, the Clipper Cocktail consisting of golden rum, vermouth and grenadine.

There are multiple claims to the invention of the cocktail. One story is that it was an American bartender Eddie Woelke who named it after Menochal after moving to Havana. Another claim is that it was invented at the Vista Alegre, a Havana establishment frequented by Americans, or that it was invented by Menochal himself.


  • Curtis, Wayne (May. 1, 2006). El Presidente. Lost Magazine.
  • Eric Felten, How's Your Drink?: Cocktails, Culture, and the Art of Drinking Well, pp. 105-108, Agate Publishing, 2009 ISBN 1572846127.