Hotel Nacional


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Hotel Nacional_001

Introduction to the Hotel Nacional Cocktail

Discover the allure of the Hotel Nacional, a cocktail that encapsulates the vibrant spirit of Cuba. With its blend of aged rum and tropical juices, this drink is a toast to Havana’s golden era. Perfect for those seeking a taste of the tropics with a sophisticated twist.

The Hotel Nacional offers a symphony of flavors, from the sweetness of pineapple to the tartness of lime, rounded off with the warmth of rum. Its storied past adds to its charm, making it a favorite among classic cocktail enthusiasts.

Join us as we delve into the rich history and vibrant flavors of this iconic Cuban cocktail. Whether you’re a seasoned mixologist or a curious connoisseur, the Hotel Nacional is sure to captivate your senses.

Key Facts About the Hotel Nacional

  • Alcohol Volume: Approximately 20% ABV (40 proof)
  • Calories: Approximately 180 kcal
  • Preferred Glass: Chilled coupe glass
  • Typical Garnish: Pineapple wedge or lime wheel

Interesting Facts about the Hotel Nacional

  • The cocktail is named after the prestigious Hotel Nacional de Cuba, a historic luxury hotel in Havana.
  • It gained popularity in the 1930s and has been a symbol of Cuban cocktail culture ever since.
  • The Hotel Nacional has been enjoyed by numerous celebrities and dignitaries over the years.

Hotel Nacional Cocktail

Tasting Notes on the Hotel Nacional

The Hotel Nacional is a harmonious blend of sweet, sour, and fruity notes. The aged rum provides a rich, oaky backbone, while the pineapple juice adds a lush, tropical sweetness. The lime juice cuts through with a refreshing zing, and the apricot brandy introduces a subtle, fruity complexity.

This cocktail is ideal for those who appreciate a balance of flavors. It’s perfect for sipping on a warm evening or as a sophisticated addition to any celebration. Its tropical character makes it a hit at summer parties, yet its elegance is suitable for more formal occasions.

History of the Hotel Nacional

The Hotel Nacional cocktail is steeped in history, originating from the iconic Hotel Nacional de Cuba in the 1930s. During this time, Cuba was a hotspot for American tourists, and the hotel was the epitome of luxury and sophistication.

The cocktail was created to capture the essence of Cuban hospitality and quickly became a favorite among the hotel’s illustrious guests. Its popularity soared, and it became a staple in cocktail books around the world.

Despite political changes and the passage of time, the Hotel Nacional cocktail remains a timeless classic, a testament to Cuba’s enduring influence on the world of mixology.

Hotel Nacional Ingredients

  • Aged Rum (1 1/2 oz or 45 ml): The backbone of the cocktail, providing depth and warmth.
  • Fresh Pineapple Juice (1 oz or 30 ml): Adds tropical sweetness and a velvety texture.
  • Fresh Lime Juice (1/2 oz or 15 ml): Brings a necessary tartness to balance the sweetness.
  • Apricot Brandy (1/2 oz or 15 ml): Introduces a hint of apricot flavor, enhancing the cocktail’s complexity.
  • Simple Syrup (1/2 oz or 15 ml): Used to fine-tune the cocktail’s sweetness to your liking.
  • Garnish: A pineapple wedge or lime wheel adds visual appeal and a touch of extra flavor.

Did you know? The Hotel Nacional cocktail is a celebration of Cuba’s rich cocktail heritage and continues to be a symbol of Havana’s luxurious past.

Preparing Hotel Nacional

Hotel Nacional Method


Begin by filling a cocktail shaker with ice to chill the ingredients and dilute the cocktail to perfection.


Add the aged rum, pineapple juice, lime juice, apricot brandy, and simple syrup into the shaker. Ensure precise measurements for a balanced cocktail.


Shake the mixture vigorously. This not only chills the drink but also integrates the flavors thoroughly.


Strain the cocktail into a chilled coupe glass to maintain the desired temperature and texture.


Finish by garnishing with a fresh pineapple wedge or lime wheel, adding an aromatic and visual component to the drink.

Serving Suggestion for the Hotel Nacional

The Hotel Nacional is traditionally served in a chilled coupe glass. The wide bowl of the coupe allows the aromas to gather, enhancing the drinking experience, while the stem keeps the cocktail at the ideal temperature.

Garnishes are more than decoration; they contribute to the overall flavor profile. A pineapple wedge adds a tropical aroma and a sweet, juicy bite, while a lime wheel offers a zesty fragrance and a hint of tartness.

Elevating the Hotel Nacional

  • Use Premium Aged Rum: Select a high-quality aged rum for a smoother, more refined flavor.
  • Freshly Squeezed Juices: Fresh juices make a significant difference in taste compared to store-bought alternatives.
  • Homemade Simple Syrup: Create your own simple syrup to control the sweetness and quality of the sugar used.
  • Proper Ice: Use large, clear ice cubes for shaking to achieve optimal dilution and chilling.
  • Chill Your Glass: A pre-chilled glass keeps the cocktail cold and enhances the drinking experience.

Hotel Nacional Cocktail Served

Substitutions and Alternatives for the Hotel Nacional

If you’re missing an ingredient or prefer a different taste, consider these substitutions:

  • White Rum: For a lighter flavor, white rum can replace aged rum.
  • Peach Liqueur: If apricot brandy is unavailable, peach liqueur can be a suitable alternative.
  • Agave Syrup: For a different sweetener, agave syrup can substitute simple syrup.

Similar cocktails include the Mai Tai and the Daiquiri, which share rum and citrus flavors.

Add a Twist to the Hotel Nacional

Experiment with these variations to put a new spin on the classic:

  • Spiced Rum: Use spiced rum for an added kick of flavor.
  • Herbal Simple Syrup: Infuse your simple syrup with herbs like mint or basil for a fresh twist.
  • Smoked Glass: Smoke the glass with wood chips before serving for a smoky aroma.

Preferred Liquors for the Hotel Nacional

For the best Hotel Nacional experience, consider these rum brands:

  • Havana Club Añejo 7 Años: A Cuban classic that offers a rich, full-bodied flavor.
  • Ron Zacapa 23: Known for its smooth, complex profile with notes of caramel and vanilla.
  • Appleton Estate Reserve: A Jamaican rum with a spicy, fruity character that complements the cocktail’s flavors.

Similar Cocktails to the Hotel Nacional

If you enjoy the Hotel Nacional, you might also like:

  • Mojito: A refreshing Cuban cocktail with mint, lime, and rum.
  • Piña Colada: Another tropical favorite featuring rum, coconut cream, and pineapple.
  • Hemingway Daiquiri: A tart and fruity rum cocktail with grapefruit and maraschino liqueur.

Food Pairings to Go with the Hotel Nacional

Complement your Hotel Nacional with these food pairings:

  • Ceviche: The citrus notes in the cocktail pair well with fresh, zesty seafood.
  • Grilled Pineapple: Echo the pineapple in the drink with a sweet and smoky side.
  • Spicy Nuts: The heat from the nuts contrasts nicely with the cocktail’s sweetness.

Hotel Nacional FAQs

Can I use bottled pineapple juice? Fresh is best, but in a pinch, bottled juice can work if it’s high quality and not from concentrate.

Is there a non-alcoholic version? Yes, simply omit the rum and apricot brandy, and replace them with non-alcoholic alternatives or additional juices.

How can I make the cocktail sweeter or more tart? Adjust the simple syrup and lime juice to taste. Start with less and add more as needed.

What if I don’t have a shaker? You can stir the ingredients with ice in a glass, but shaking is preferred for the right texture.

Can I make this in a batch for a party? Absolutely, multiply the ingredients by the number of servings and mix in a large pitcher or bowl.

Hotel Nacional_001

Hotel Nacional

The Hotel Nacional is a classic Cuban cocktail with a rich history, named after the prestigious Hotel Nacional de Cuba in Havana. It combines the tropical flavors of pineapple and lime with the complexity of rum and a hint of apricot from apricot brandy.
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 0 minutes
0 minutes
Total Time 5 minutes
Course Cocktail
Cuisine Cuban
Servings 1 cocktail
Calories 180 kcal


  • Cocktail shaker
  • Ice
  • Coupe glass


  • 1 1/2 oz Aged Rum
  • 1 oz Fresh Pineapple Juice
  • 1/2 oz Fresh Lime Juice
  • 1/2 oz Apricot Brandy
  • 1/2 oz Simple Syrup
  • Pineapple wedge or lime wheel, for garnish


  • Fill a cocktail shaker with ice.
  • Add the aged rum, pineapple juice, lime juice, apricot brandy, and simple syrup to the shaker.
  • Shake vigorously until well chilled.
  • Strain the mixture into a chilled coupe glass.
  • Garnish with a pineapple wedge or lime wheel.


The Hotel Nacional can be served on the rocks in a highball glass if preferred. Adjust the simple syrup to your taste, depending on the sweetness of your pineapple juice and apricot brandy.
Keyword apricot brandy, Classic Cocktails, Cuban Cocktails, Hotel Nacional, Lime Juice, pineapple juice, Rum, Tropical Drinks

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