This one is named after the hotel in Havana, Cuba where it was created (the hotel's still there, too). It's not exactly common, so don't expect to be able to order it in your run-of-the-mill bar; fortunately, it's easy to make at home. Also, if you're fortunate enough to live near the fabulous restaurant and bar that is Cinnabar in Glendale (less than four miles from my house, baby!), it's on their outstanding cocktail menu.

Make sure that the apricot brandy you use is the dry, Hungarian style (like barac palinka), not the sweet "apricot flavored brandy" made by people like Bols and Leroux.

Hotel Nacional Special

2 ounces golden rum (Cuban, if you can get it)
1-1/2 ounces unsweetened pineapple juice
1/2 ounce fresh squeezed lime juice
1 teaspoon dry apricot brandy

Shake with cracked ice until cold and frothy,
and strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with anything
from a maraschino cherry to a "flag" (orange wedge and cherry
speared with a cocktail pick or a paper umbrella).

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Chuck Taggart   email chef (at) gumbopages (dot) com