The Original El Presidente 1.000

Deb Lindsey for The Washington Post

Spirits Jun 3, 2015

David Wondrich writes about this lovely, blushing rum drink — the “Cubanized answer to the Manhattan” — in the 2015 edition of his classic “Imbibe!” The original version, which Wondrich credits to Havana bartender Constantino Ribalaigua, uses blanc vermouth (not the dry variety, which is pale in color), which plays nicely with the rum.

Where to Buy: Use three-year-old Havana Club if you can get it; otherwise, any flavorful, funky white rum will suit. We found Banks 5 Island Rum at Ace Beverage in the District. Gran Marnier will do for the curaçao, in a pinch.


When you scale a recipe, keep in mind that cooking times and temperatures, pan sizes and seasonings may be affected, so adjust accordingly. Also, amounts listed in the directions will not reflect the changes made to ingredient amounts.

Tested size: 1 servings

  • Ice
  • 1 1/2 ounces white rum, such as Banks 5 Island
  • 1 1/2 ounces Dolin Blanc vermouth (see headnote)
  • 1 teaspoon dry curaçao, such as Pierre Ferrand
  • 1/2 teaspoon grenadine
  • 1 dash Angostura bitters
  • Twist of orange peel, for garnish
  • Maraschino cherry, for garnish (optional)


Fill a mixing glass with ice.

Add the rum, vermouth, curaçao, grenadine and bitters; stir, then strain into a cocktail (martini) glass.

Twist the orange peel over the surface of the drink, expressing the oils, then drop the peel into the drink if you like. Add a cherry, if desired.

Rate it

Recipe Source

Adapted from author David Wondrich.

Tested by M. Carrie Allan.

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