Hotel Nacional

Hotel Nacional cocktail

Shake with ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Float a lime wheel on the surface of the drink.

The bar at Havana's Hotel Nacional de Cuba was a famous celebrity hangout in the 1930s. According to The Old Waldorf-Astoria Bar Book this was one of their signature drinks.

It might appear that we are straying a little far from the definition of a Sour but really we've only replaced the sweetener of simple syrup with apricot liqueur and swapped some of the lime for pineapple juice. Use high quality apricot liqueur. We use Marie Brizard Apry but you could also try Rothman & Winter. The original recipe specifies light rum and a later version published in the 1930s suggests gold rum. This recipe is from The New Cocktail Hour which splits the difference.

We use Key limes and squeeze fresh pineapple segments for the pineapple juice. (Squeezing pineapple segments is a bit fiddly but we have an old-fashioned manual juice press that does a good job.) The pineapple shines clearly but it does not dominate—the tartness of the lime is also very much present and it blends surprisingly well.