Have you ever had a Hotel Nacional Special cocktail? It was one of the signature cocktails at Cuba’s historic luxury Hotel Nacional. There are all kinds of minor variations of this cocktail, but every single recipe we saw includes some amount of apricot brandy. We wanted to put our own spin on it, so we did some R+D and came up with this.
Since citrus is in season we decided to run with it. We call the result the Citrus Special. It’s critical to use pineapple gum syrup. It gives the cocktail a texture that you cannot get without it. We used Cointreau for a bright, clean citrus flavor, but any citrus liqueur would probably work well. We like to keep our citrus out in this basket on the counter. It adds a pop of color to the kitchen, plus we know when we’re running low.
We think you should still try a classic Hotel Nacional cocktail, but after you try this, you may like it better. We did! We picked up these vintage crystal coupes from Cookin’ in San Francisco. You can find similar ones here, here, and here.
- Add all ingredients to a cocktail shaker with ice.
- Shake vigorously and strain into chilled glass.