Friday, December 8, 2017

el presidente

1 1/2 oz Don Q Añejo Rum
1 1/2 oz Dolin Blanc Vermouth
1 bsp Pierre Ferrand Dry Curaçao
1 bsp Grenadine

Stir with ice, strain into a cocktail glass, and garnish with a cherry and an orange twist.
The El Presidente became quite popular here in Boston around a decade ago as a combination of light rum, dry vermouth, curaçao, and a touch of grenadine. This is the way I have always made the drink, although I have not returned to the combination in years. It seemed to work for my palate and others including the night I mixed them at a friend's house using their recently acquired stash of Havana Club 3 Year. In 2012, David Wondrich in Imbibe Magazine declared that the drink recipe was first recorded as containing "Chambery" which probably meant the blanc or sweet-white vermouth that the region was famous for. For my recipe, I tracked down the 1924 Manual del Cantinero via EUVS that Wondrich referred to as well as the 1932 Sloppy Joe's Bar book via EUVS that included both the curaçao and the grenadine modifiers (the 1924 recipe had an option for one or the other). The latter recipe declared the drink a dry vermouth one (Noilly Prat is best known for their dry vermouth and appears to have never made a blanc style) as do most of the rest of the recipes to follow with the former one only suggesting at blanc vermouth.
Since many people have touted the blanc vermouth version as superior, I merged the 1924 recipe with the liqueur and syrup combination from the 1932 recipe. In the glass, the El Presidente gave forth an aged rum aroma with a hint of orange fruitiness. Next, a sweet white grape paired with the rum's caramel note, and the swallow continued on with rum, orange, berry, and floral flavors. Overall, this combination was a touch too sweet for me so perhaps upping the rum (or using a rougher spirit) and toning down on the blanc vermouth might work. In Pioneers of Mixing at Elite Bars: 1903-1933, they recommend subbing in a rhum agricole for any call of Bacardi during this era to better mimic its grassiness, so perhaps using an overly smooth rum is indeed a detriment here (as is the case in the Twelve Mile Limit from the same era). Moreover, this sweetness could have also been due to the lack of structure imparted by dry vermouth's acid (such as from Noilly Prat), so it came across as a bit more flabby than the recipe I am more familiar with; perhaps this might be effected by my Dolin Blanc bottle not being the freshest (despite it working well recently in other recipes).

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