Cocktail of the Week: BlackTail’s ‘El Presidente’

February 17, 2017

At BlackTail, a Cuban-inspired bar located in New York City’s Pier A in Battery Park, they re-imagine what an American bar in Havana would have looked like during Prohibition. Their menu (which is also hardbound, illustrated, and available for sale) splits into five categories of drinks: Highball, Punch, Sour, Old-Fashioned and Cocktail. In addition, an insert of 8 cocktails adorn the list to reflect seasonally relevant drinks. The new cocktail insert menu, running until sometime in March, features eight cocktails incorporating spirits from rum to aquavit. A cocktail from their main menu is on feature today.

El Presidente CocktailPhoto Credit: BlackTail / El Presidente Cocktail


Managing Partner Jack McGarry together with Beverage Director Jillian Vose, and Head Bartender/Bar Manager Jesse Vida conceived the drink menu. According to McGarry, “All of the cocktails are based on historical recipes interpreted for today’s tastes and amplified with the latest techniques.” Vose’s take on an ‘El Presidente’ is a case in point.

Traditionally, the drink utilizes white rum, dry vermouth, orange curaçao, and grenadine. “The addition of mezcal and ancho chili-infused vermouth give the cocktail more depth and layers of flavor. They are both subtle flavor nuances to the cocktail, [yet] it still drinks in the style of a classic El Presidente. Jillian just rounded and balanced the flavors to make it unique and fitting to our program” explains Vida. “It’s certainly the best version of the El Presidente I’ve ever had, and is one of my personal favorites on the menu.” After tasting through their menu with friends (someone has to do it), I couldn’t agree more.


– 1 Mole Bitters
– 1 Tsp Pomegranate Redux (reduced pomegranate syrup made in-house)
– 1 Tsp Del Maguey Vida Mezcal
– .5 oz Royal Combier Grande Liqueur
– .5 oz Ancho Chili Sweet Vermouth
– .5 oz Cocchi Vermouth di Torino
– 1 oz Cana Brava Reserva Añeja Rum
– .5 oz Facundo Eximo Rum

First, add all ingredients to mixing glass. Next, add ice and stir until very cold. Pour through a Julep strainer into a chilled cocktail glass. Lastly, garnish with orange oils expressed from orange peel.

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