National Cocktail

This one comes from a reprint of the 1935 edition of Bar La Florida Cocktails. The Bar La Florida, perhaps more commonly known as the El Floridita, was a famous Havana bar, back when Americans could still go to Cuba. In fact, it’s still there. If you’re Canadian or something, you should visit. Its heyday was the 1920s and 1930s, and if the daiquiri wasn’t invented there, it was certainly popularized. Indeed, many of the El Floridita’s signature drinks served as prototypes for Tiki cocktails; both Victor Bergeron (Trader Vic) and Ernest Gantt (Don the Beachcomber) used El Floridita’s rum-centric concoctions as a template for their expansive drink menus.

The recipe:

1/4 Apricot brandy

1/4 pineapple juice

1/2 white rum

Combine ingredients in a shaker with ice; shake and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with cherries and a slice of pineapple.

I used two ounces of rum, and an ounce each of the other ingredients.

National cocktail

Since the drink calls for white rum, there’s not a whole lot of rum flavor; it mostly just provides the alcohol. The apricot and pineapple dominate, but don’t really combine; you get a fair taste of each in every sip. The drink is on the sweetish side, without being cloying. I found it just slightly perfume-y, but Katie did not notice this. Also, we didn’t have any pineapple, so our garnish is lacking. I actually think this one might be better with gin than with rum, but in any case, four livers.

Some notes on ingredients:

Do yourself a favor, and get Cruzan white rum. It’s the same price as the ubiquitous Bacardi (sometimes even cheaper) and noticeably smoother with a more well-rounded flavor.

I recently got some Marie Brizard Apry liqueur. This is definitely the way to go with apricot brandies; it’s night and day compared with the cheaper offerings from the likes of Hiram Walker. That stuff will do in a pinch, but if you can find the Apry (it looks like they’ve changed the name to simply “apricot”), by all means pick up a bottle.

Pineapple juice is one juice I don’t go the fresh-squeezed route with. First of all, pineapples are a bit unwieldy. Second, I don’t want to squander a whole pineapple whenever I need an ounce or two of juice. Third – well, good bartending is time-consuming, but you don’t have to make your life any more difficult than it needs to be.

Maraschino cherries are good. Tillen Farms Merry Maraschino cherries are ridiculously good. Honestly, the difference between them and the standard cherry you’ll find at your local supermarket is as broad as the difference between Crown Royal and an eighteen-year-old single malt Scotch. You might find them at Whole Foods, otherwise use the link above to order.


4 thoughts on “National Cocktail

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