As American tourists flocked to Cuba in droves during Prohibition, they tended to prefer the cocktails they missed rather than sweeter, rum-based drinks the locals preferred. One of these locals was Constantino Ribalaigua, head bartender at Havana’s Parque Central, who was responsible for popularizing the El Presidente among his local clientele. The recipe had been floating around for ages in several ill-defined forms, but it was Ribalaigua who created the classic version of it, as described in David Wondrich’s fabulous book Imbibe!
One ingredient Ribalaigua’s recipe did not call for was a bit of grenadine; most modern recipes do, and we find the little bit of sweetness and color to be more agreeable.
Stir with ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with an orange twist.