Hotel Nacional Special

Difford's Guide



Coupe glass
Measuring jigger
Fine sieve

Flavour Profile



178 calories

Styles & Flavours

Hotel Nacional Special image

Serve in

Coupe glass


Pineapple (or lime) wedge on rim

How to make:

SHAKE all ingredients with ice and fine strain into chilled glass.

1 2/3 fl oz Bacardi Gold rum
1/3 fl oz Giffard Abricot du Roussillon
2/3 fl oz Fresh pressed pineapple juice
1/2 fl oz Freshly squeezed lime juice
1/3 fl oz Giffard Sugar Cane Syrup
4 drop Difford's Daiquiri Bitters (optional)


Hotel Nacional Special, The Nacional Cocktail and simply Nacional

Our comment:

A fruity but sophisticated riff on the classic Daiquiri with fresh pineapple and apricot liqueur. It would appear the Hotel Nacional was originally made with a charcoal filtered white rum but in his influential 1939 travel log, Charles H. Baker says, "We indicate Gold Label Bacardi for the simple reason that Carta Blanca is so delicate in flavour it barely comes through any rich drink. " This cocktail does indeed suit a more characterful rum, to the extent that it's also delicious when made with a well-aged rum.


The flagship cocktail of Havana's famous Hotel Nacional de Cuba, this was created sometime during or after the hotels opening in 1930. The hotel's then elegant opulence was a magnet to the style-set and celebrities including Ava Gardner and Nat King Cole, as well as mobsters such as "Lucky" Luciano.

Such a hotel opening off the US coast during the height of Prohibition attracted some of America's greatest bartenders, including Will (or Wil) Taylor, Eddie Woelke and Fred Kaufman. All three of these have been credited with the creation of the Hotel Nacional Special and perhaps they all contributed. However, the first known reference to the cocktail, in Charles H. Baker's 1939 The Gentleman's Companion credits Wil P. Taylor, describing the drink as "one of the three finest Bacardi drinks known to science."

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