Cocktail of the Day: Hotel Nacional Special

This one is named after the hotel in Havana, Cuba where it was created (the hotel’s still there, too). It’s not exactly common, so don’t expect to be able to order it in your run-of-the-mill bar; fortunately, it’s easy to make at home. Also, if you’re fortunate enough to live near the fabulous restaurant and bar that is Cinnabar in Glendale (less than four miles from my house, baby!), it’s on their outstanding cocktail menu. (UPDATE: Cinnabar closed in 2005, sadly.)

If you can make sure that the apricot brandy you use is the dry, Hungarian style (like barack palinka), not the sweet “apricot flavored brandy” made by people like Bols and Leroux. (If you do have to use a liqueur I recommend Orchard Apricot by Rothman & Winter.)

Hotel Nacional Special

2 ounces golden rum (Cuban, if you can get it)
1-1/2 ounces unsweetened pineapple juice
1/2 ounce fresh squeezed lime juice
1 teaspoon dry apricot brandy

Shake with cracked ice until cold and frothy, and strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with anything from a cherry to a “flag” (orange wedge and cherry speared with a cocktail pick or a paper umbrella).