El Presidente Cocktail Recipe

El Presidente Cocktail Recipe

El Presidente Cocktail

Drink, on Boston’s seaport, was the city’s first truly great cocktail bar. It has a lot more competition now than it did when it first opened; so it’s no longer head and shoulders above its competition. Who knows, the best cocktail bar in Boston may actually be in Woburn now. But Drink remains peerless in that thing where you tell the bartender what you like and what mood you’re in, and the bartender whips something up for you. At Drink, that’s practically the only way to order; there’s not a menu to speak of. If you go there enough times, you figure out that they have their tricks and their favorites. Still, it’s pretty impressive. You almost always get a drink that hits the spot, and it’s a great way to learn a new drink, if you ask the right question.

My friend Alex, who was a regular at Drink, used this method to expand his tequila repertoire. When the bartender asked, ‘What are you looking for?’ Alex answered, ‘I like tequila, but I don’t like margaritas. What do you have for me?’ He was served the Maximilian Affair, which truly is a great tequila cocktail with no resemblance to a margarita. It became a favorite in our friend group, and even made it on to our wedding menu. We’ll have to share the recipe with you someday.

Today’s drink, El Presidente, is rum’s version of the Maximilian Affair. I think if you went to drink and said, ‘ I’d like a rum drink, but one that doesn’t taste like the Caribbean,’ El Presidente is what they’d serve you. It’s a rum drink, but very, very dry and almost entirely not fruity. The little bit of grenadine gives it just a touch of sweetness, and a nice little blush color.

El Presidente Cocktail Recipe


  • 1 1/2 oz white rum
  • 1 1/2 oz vermouth bianco (aka blanc, blanco, white)
  • 1 tsp orange liqueur (use Curacao if you have it; it’s the driest)
  • 1/2 tsp grenadine
  • orange twist, for garnish
  • maraschino cherry, for garnish (as always, use a true Luxardo or equivalent. No ice cream sundae cherries!)


  • Stir the liquid ingredients with ice.
  • Strain into a cocktail glass.
  • Garnish.

And we’re not saying certain presidential candidates are pigs, we’re just posting the drink ‘El President’ with a pig.

Roberts & June