When Zane traveled to Costa Rica on Three Sheets, he tried a local spirit called Guaro. In a blog posting about the episode, he described it as smelling like turpentine and not tasting much better than that. It’s the national drink of Costa Rica and they take a lot of pride in this strong flavored spirit and they don’t take kindly to people comparing it to Everclear or rubbing alcohol.
Guaro, similar to rum, is a spirit distilled from sugar cane. A friend of mine brought a bottle back from a recent trip to Costa Rica and I had a chance to try it a few weeks ago. I wanted to get the full affect, so I didn’t mix it with anything. I put it in a cup with some ice and took a sip.
Zane was right. Just because it’s only 60 proof doesn’t mean that this liquor should be taken lightly. This is a spirit that demands your respect. It also demands to be mixed with something else because there isn’t much to it on its own. It has a neutral taste, more reminiscent of vodka than rum. It wasn’t remotely as harsh as I expected either. It was actually kind of smooth going down.
Guaro can be found in other South American countries besides Costa Rica. It is also prevalent in El Salvador, Columbia, Honduras and Guatemala. The Fabrica Nacional de Licores or the National Liquor Factory began production of Guaro in 1853. Since the 80’s, it has been produced under the game Cacique Guaro and the National Liquor Factory has made a point to make sure that their product is the highest quality possible.
There are various stories as to the origin of the name guaro. I asked my friend Jorge, who is from Quepos, and he said that was named for an indigenous tribe that once called the area home.
The National Liquor Factory produces three types of Guaro:
- Cacique Guaro (bottled with a red label, 365 ml, 750 ml and 1000)
- Superior Cacique Guaro (bottled with a black label, 365 ml and 750 ml only)
- Roncolorado (bottled with a yellow label, 365 ml and 1000)
The common way to drink Guaro in Costa Rice consists of Guaro and ice mixed with Fresca or a similar lemon/lime soda. It also mixes well with juices and pretty much anything that you would mix rum or vodka with. The Cacique Guaro official also has many recipes so that drinkers can have the best possible experience with their product. Here is a few of them.
2 ounces of margarita mix
2 ounces of water
2 ounces of Cacique Guaro
Mix together and enjoy.
Red Sky Martini:
1.5 shots of Cacique Guaro
2 ounces of cranberry apple juice
1 dash if dry vermouth
1-2 shots of Cacique Guaro
Add orange juice and grenadine over ice
You can do it!
1-2 shots of Cacique Guaro
Mix in mountain dew on the rocks.
The All natural S.O.B.
1 cup of Cacique Guaro
10 ounces of fresh strawberries
2 cups of fresh orange juice
1 whole banana
Combine the ingredients in a quart blender and blend until smooth. Don’t forget the tiny umbrella!