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Sunday, August 16, 2009

How's Your El Presidente?

My time on Florida’s Gulf Coast has produced a couple of new cocktails, but also other observations for the cocktail enthusiast. For starters, my first read was fellow Washingtonian Eric Felten’s How’s Your Drink. This book is engaging, well-written and full of history and anecdotes about classic cocktails. A friend of mine gave it to me at my Kentucky Derby party in May – a most fitting gift for a drinking event, even moreso considering its discussion of the history of the mint julep.

Enough about May, and on to the events of August. From my perspective, a handful of the classic cocktails in the book are anachronisms or curiosities. For example, I doubt I will ever need to pour many Grasshoppers or Pink Ladies, though the history of those drinks is fascinating. Others looked so tantalizing I had to give them a shake, particularly the El Presidente. Felten's recipe includes rum, pineapple and lime juices, and grenadine. The drink, I learned, was a wildly popular drink in the 1930’s. Perhaps something about a recession makes the cocktail appealing – but I think it has more to do with the cool, frothy pineapple juice balanced by the sharp citrus flavor. Or maybe the drink’s sunset color makes it so irresistible and even contagious. I asked for it by name at a couple of bars, and saw other parties order them soon after. It even became the next night’s cocktail special at one of the bars. Who knows -- perhaps El Presidente could be poised to make a comeback.


Matt Robold (RumDood) said...

The El Presidente is one of my favorite rum cocktails - though I don't follow Felton's recipe.

The first recipe for the El Presidente that I saw was in Wayne Curtis' book, "and a bottle of rum...".

I don't even follow that recipe to the letter, as I find the drink too sweet.

My recipe is:

1.5 oz Rum
.25 oz Curacao
.75 oz Dry Vermouth
.25 tsp Grenadine

I keep seeing instructions to shake this, but I prefer it stirred. Either way is good, really.

Shawn said...

Then I'll have to try it both ways. It looks delightful.

What's your choice of grenadine?