STOP THE PRESSES!
Well, that was dramatic. My apologies for the additional post and the drama, but unfortunately we’re unable to edit our posts once they’re published, and I left out something important.
The El Presidente, a classic cocktail of Cuban origin from the era we discussed during David Wondrich and Jeff Berry’s Around the World via (Brass) Rail seminar, is one of my all-time favorites.
My preferred version is to use 1-1/2 ounces of an aged rum, 3/4 ounce of dry vermouth, 1/4 ounce of orange curaçao and about half a bar spoon of grenadine. Other than being a bit less sweet than the typical version with less curaçao, this is pretty standard.
David Wondrich opined that this cocktail isn’t one of his favorites — he finds that when it’s well-done it’s only “okay,” and otherwise it’s “kind of ehh.” His recent researches have revealed that this isn’t quite the way it was originally made in Havana bars of the 1920s and 1930s; we make it the way we make it today because of lack of availability of a key ingredient.
Dry vermouth has been substituted all along, but Dave’s research revealed that the original ingredient, unavailable in the U.S. until recently, was a semi-sweet Vermouth de Chambéry, what we’d know today as Dolin Blanc Vermouth de Chambéry, imported by Haus Alpenz. He served a version of this with a Cuban-style light rum, and it was pretty spectacular. This never occurred to me to try, and I can’t wait to try it as soon as I get home. Why don’t you try it and let us know what you think?