Hotel Nacional · Gustazo Cuban Kitchen & Bar

While devising the cocktail menu for Porter Square’s new Gustazo Cuban Kitchen & Bar, cocktail consultant (and Backbar owner) Sam Treadway saw an opportunity to highlight Cuba’s rich cocktail history.

“I wanted to create originals but also pay homage to the classic Cuban bar culture which was and is thriving,” Treadway says.

One such classic is the Hotel Nacional, a frothy rum-and-pineapple concoction that served as the house cocktail for Havana’s luxury hotel and casino of the same name.

In addition to Plantation Barbados 5 Year Rum and fresh pineapple and lime juices, the drink also includes simple syrup and an apricot liqueur from French maker Giffard. The decision to split the cocktail’s sweet element has historical precedent.

“I read up on the original cocktail and looked at multiple recipes,” Treadway says. “Nearly all of them included a little bit of simple syrup. Because the Giffard has such a distinct, bright flavor, if I had used all apricot liqueur it would have overpowered the drink.”

Garnished with a lime wheel and pineapple slice, the cocktail has an unmistakably tropical appearance, but features a drier finish than you might expect—thanks to a few dashes of bitters.

“Most [Hotel Nacional] recipes do not involve Angostura bitters,” Treadway says. “I just like drying out the cocktail a tiny bit, because modern palates are headed in the direction of not-too-sweet, and I like the classic Caribbean spices that go well with pineapple.”

Hotel Nacional
2 ounces Plantation Barbados 5 Years Rum

1 ounce fresh pineapple juice
½ ounce lime juice
¼ ounce Giffard Abricot du Roussillon
¼ ounce simple syrup
2 dashes Angostura Bitters, for garnish
Lime wheel and pineapple slice, for garnish

Add all ingredients except garnishes to a shaker with ice and shake until chilled. Double strain into a goblet and garnish with pineapple slice and lime wheel. Top lime wheel with bitters and serve.

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