Presidente Vincent

Presidente Vincent

This was the third cocktail I mixed up from David Wondrich’s Esquire Drinks, and I knew immediately that his book would become prized in my collection. If you have not already purchased it based on my previous recommendation, just go do it. That shelf / grand library where you keep all of your cocktail books will begin to shine like a thousand stars.

Wondrich describes the Presidente Vincent, a variant on the El Presidente, as “one of the best warm-weather drinks going.” This is a fact that I will not dispute. Yet, every once in a while you find that one drink or dish that defies its natural season and keeps nudging you to make another no matter how heavy the snow falls. For me, the Presidente Vincent is that drink.

Presidente Vincent

  • 2oz Barbancourt rum (or rhum from Martinique or gold Puerto Rican rum)
  • 1oz dry vermouth
  • 1oz lime juice
  • 2tsp simple syrup

Shake with ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass rimmed with sugar.

Esquire Drinks, David Wondrich


The crystal snow around the rim pleases the tongue at every sip. It provides just the right amount of sweetness to balance out the lime juice while the dry vermouth is playing a friendly game of cards with the Barbancourt. Before any of this, though, your nose is met with an earthy sugarcane aroma – it warms my soul just thinking about it.

Is Martinique Rhum a Good Substitute?

Yes! Though you get much more of an intense rum flavor. The Barbancourt is like a dainty cognac compared to the St. James that I used. Give it a try if you have some lying around – though go for some of the more aged stuff if have it.

A New Photo Setup?

Since winter has finally graced the Eastern US, the sun has been dim and the winds fierce. These are not good attributes of a good photo shoot outside. I’ve been wanting to make a lightbox for some time so that I could more easily shoot inside throughout the year. The above picture was my first attempt at using the setup. All of our house lights are built into the ceiling, so I had to pull a florescent shop light off of my seed starting rig. I think I’ll pick up an incandescent light today so that I can get things a little brighter.

Thoughts? Ideas?

18 Responses to “Presidente Vincent”

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18 Comments to “ Presidente Vincent”
  1. DarcyNo Gravatar says:

    I’ve been looking at setting up a light box, and if you go to a good aquarium store you can get some great lights for a reasonable price. The T5 lights come in a wide array of temperatures (3000K, 6500K, 10,000K and 20,000K). What kind of camera are you using? I need to upgrade mine in the near future.

  2. RickNo Gravatar says:

    I picked up an incandescent bulb and switched my camera for tungsten light, and I’m getting good results. I’m working with a Canon PowerShot A95. It’s macro modes are nice and it’s probably a good bit cheaper than when I bought it a couple years ago.

    I’m really missing that subtle blue tint that the sun adds to the photos. Maybe I could try some filters… Anyway, it’s about 20x easier to take pictures with this set up now.

  3. MikeNo Gravatar says:

    I actually splurged on an actual lightbox. Adorama has a number of decent ones for around $50. The real expense is the lights, right? One option that’s really nice is using the new daylight compact fluorescent bulbs. They kick out an amazing number of lumens–more than you’ll ever get with incandescent–last longer, and use less energy. Otherwise, you can always splurge on some AlienBees. I did. (Yes, I have a problem.)

  4. RickNo Gravatar says:

    Mike, can you throw me some links to the stuff you’re talking about?

  5. JimmyNo Gravatar says:

    Say it isn’t so! The hands-down best drink photographer in the world has no lights! And uses a powershot!

    This goes to prove, that it’s not the equipment, but the photographer. Anyway, the lowel “ego” system looks really cool. You can get just the background sweep or you can get the bg and one or two lights in a kit. I saw it at CES and it looks compact and simple. It was blogged here. and available at BH Photo.

    Once again, great photo.

  6. Been something I’ve been thinking of, as well.

    Some folks, on another website I frequent, have spoken quite highly of the lowel ego.




  7. RickNo Gravatar says:

    Thanks for the kind words guys. You have all these crazy photo ideas! I took another shot of a future drink that I plan on posting using incandescent light, and I was happy with the results. What do you think?


  8. Rick,

    Do you use a table top tripod of some sort? Something else I really need to get.

  9. RickNo Gravatar says:

    Tripods aren’t good for up-close and odd angles. I use delicate intensity and lots of fine cocktails to fuel my concentration :)

  10. DarcyNo Gravatar says:

    Rick, you should do a post on your photography techniques. You, by far, have the best photographs of and drink blog.

  11. Dr. BambooNo Gravatar says:

    I will definitely be making a Presidente Vincent, as it sounds/looks delicious and I currently have all the ingredients on hand. I’m also ready for something mellower like the Barbancourt. I spent the weekend making several Trader Vic’s recipe Mai Tais, so I’m a little burned out on Martinique rum (delicious as it may be).

    And great photo as usual!

  12. RickNo Gravatar says:

    You’ll have to let me know what you think Craig; it’s definitely one of my favorites from the new book. Thanks for the fine words about the photo.

  13. Dr. BambooNo Gravatar says:

    The last lime in the house gave its life for a noble cause. I made one last night and it was fantastic! the Barbancourt brings a great flavor, and the overall balance between all the ingredients is wonderful.

    And it even looked like your photo!

  14. RickNo Gravatar says:


    Where did you find your Barbancourt? I know PA only has it as a SLO.

  15. Dr. BambooNo Gravatar says:

    My neighbor across the street has family near Buffalo NY, and he always makes a stop at Premier Liquors:


    I don’t know which specific location he goes to, but he always asks me for my “shopping list” whenvever he makes a trip. On his last visit, he kindly got me some Barbancourt, Martinique rum (St. James), a bottle of Old Raj gin, and some Laird’s Applejack. The only thing they didn’t have in-store was Lemon Hart Demerara, but the clerk said they could order ir and and have it within a week.

    The next time he goes, do you want me to have him look for anything you need? I know he’d be happy to do it.

  16. RickNo Gravatar says:

    I am appalled! I, in no way, endorse smuggling, and I am upset that you would even suggest something so rank and vile …

    (check your email for a list)

  17. Rowen LeighNo Gravatar says:

    Rick, your blog is among the best drink blogs I’ve found. I’m really enjoying myself. And you’ve inspired me to start photographing my own efforts.

    If I may, how do you get your citrus twists so neat-edged? Very impressive.

  18. RickNo Gravatar says:

    It’s actually simple when you discover the technique.

    Cut off each end of your lemon – I’d say 1/4-1/2″. A good bit. Then get a sharp spoon and hollow out the insides, getting as much pith as you can without destroying the lemon.

    You should be left with what looks like an empty barrel with not top or bottom. Slice through and lay the whole thing out flat. Now with a sharp knife, cut off as much pith as you like. It’s nice to leave a little bit on.

    Get a toothpick and fill a small bowl with cold water and a few ice cubes.

    Roll-up the lemon peel very tight and stick a toothpick in one side to hold it together. Drop it in the ice water for about 10 minutes.

    Pull out and cut a slice off, twist, and garnish.

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Kaiser Penguin is a cocktail blog featuring original recipes, homemade ingredients, classic cocktails, and tiki drinks.

Why on Earth did you name your blog “Kaiser Penguin?”

It is a well-known fact that penguins are members of high society and enjoy fine cocktails. Our very own kaiser penguin would like me to mention that he also enjoys various treats from the sea.

Contact: rick@kaiserpenguin.com