The Hotel Nacional Special cocktail was created at the Nacional bar in Cuba by Will P. Taylor, Waldorf-Astoria’s last manager before the bar closed during Prohibition.
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In the 1935 Old Waldorf-Astoria Bar Book, author Albert Stevens Crockett states that he obtained the “choicest Cuban rum recipes” from Will P. Taylor, Manager of the Hotel Nacional de Cuba. Among these is the ‘National’ Cocktail, a riff on the Daiquiri with a pineapple touch, a drink that is named after the glamorous hotel in Havana.
The specs for the Hotel Nacional Special Cocktail vary according to various sources. It basically calls for rum, citrus, apricot brandy and pineapple in a shaken drink, strained and served in a coupette.
The recipe in A.S. Crockett’s The Old Waldorf-Astoria Bar Book favours Bacardi white rum:
Equal parts Bacardi and pineapple juice
Squeeze of lemon
Dash of apricot brandy
Ice; shake; strain
In The PDT Cocktail Book by Jim Meehan and Chris Gall, the recipe calls for Bacardi 8 rum:
2 oz Bacardi 8 Rum
1 oz pineapple juice
0.5 oz lime juice
0.5 oz simple syrup
0.25 oz apricot liqueur
Martin Cate and Rebecca Cate in Smugglers Cove: Exotic Cocktails, Rum, and the Cult of Tiki do away with pineapple juice and use pineapple chunks muddled with lime juice and syrup with a blended lightly aged rum.
3-4 pineapple chunks
3/4 oz fresh lime juice
1/2 oz apricot liqueur
1 1/2 oz blended lightly aged rum
Whether you choose a light rum or an aged rum, the Hotel Nacional Special Cocktail is a fruity and refreshing rum cocktail, and easy to drink at any time of the day. Think of it as a Daiquiri gone Tiki.
Hotel Nacional Special Recipe
- 60ml Cuban rum
- 10ml apricot liqueur
- 20ml pineapple juice
- 15ml lime juice, freshly squeezed
- 15ml simple syrup
Glassware: coupette or Martini glass
Garnish: pineapple wedge or lime wheel (optional)
In a cocktail shaker with ice, add all the ingredients and shake well until cold. Strain into chilled coupette or Martini glass. Garnish with a pineapple wedge or lime wheel (optional).