If you thought booze was any less susceptible faddism than any other thing in your life, think again. Case in point is the current affaire d'amour many bartenders are having with rum. Long forgotten and now popping up everywhere, not just on bar menus but on the front of the bar's themselves (here in PDX we have bartender extraordinaire Kevin Ludwig's new and very cool booze boite Rum Club), Rum is having its 15 minutes. Long ignored is the fact that rum has a long and storied history as a main ingredient in many a pre-prohibition cocktail.
For those who have forgotten their drink history, may I suggest you immediately run out and buy a copy of the Washington Post drinks columnist ("Drinks columnist"...I should sue my college academic adviser for negligence. I don't seem to remember "drinks columnist" ever being mentioned as a career option) Jason Wilson's excellent and inspiring booze bible appropriately titled "Boozehound". I've referenced Wilson and his intoxicating skill set many times on this blog (just search his name in the search box upper left) and almost without fail he's steered me right. His book should have a prominent seat at the bar of all drinks aficionados. At the end of his chapter "Of Politics and Rum" he offers the following recipe for the "El Presidente". He writes that it was "Popular in Havana during the 1920 and 1930s and was reportedly offered to President Calvin Coolidge by then Cuban president Gerardo Machado. Coolidge, mindful of Prohibition back home, declined the drink." I highly encourage you to find out what Coolidge was missing out on, because this is a deeply refreshing drink with a rich, fruity complexity. Wilson recommends using an aged rum in this drink, which I heartily endorse. I used Flor de Caña 7 year old off my home bar. It was perfecto!
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from Jason Wilson's "Boozehound"
1-1/2 ounces aged rum
3/4 ounce dry vermouth
3/4 ounce Cointreau
1/2 teaspoon grenadine (I found the excellent REAL grenadine made by Sonoma Syrups at New Seasons here in PDX. It's worth searching out!)
Orange peel twist for garnish
Fill a mixing glass two-thirds full with ice. Add the rum, vermouth, Cointreau, and grenadine. Stir vigorously for 30 seconds, then strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with orange twist.