Guaro Cocktails Come Home To Me!
Summer barbecues bring to mind all sorts of ideas. In fact the outdoor BBQ is America’s number one favorite way to entertain friends at home. More people prefer their parties al fresco than any other type of party they can think of. Even a birthday party. I guess the only party more popular than an outdoor BBQ might be an outdoor BBQ birthday party! It’s not my birthday– but we can have a drink anyway, can’t we?
There are so many choices too. I like beer. I like beer at a BBQ especially. But I decided the next BBQ that finds it way to my backyard will feature something else. Something a bit more exotic. I think an outdoor party is the perfect time to introduce my friends to something new. How about a spirit known as guaro.
Guaro leads the list of traditional alcoholic drinks in Costa Rica, which gives it a party allure that I know will keep the mood of your barbecue smokin’. So why don’t more Americans know about guaro? Well partly because in Costa Rica guaro was once the province of the less affluential drinker. It has a reputation of being the “rot gut” of that country. Though that is changing, it still remains so in some ways, because honestly the quality can be a bit spotty if not well chosen. Which explains why so many consider it a crude spirit and most tourists pass the stuff right by. But that’s why they are tourists and we are travelers… I am going to bring guaro home to my own backyard this summer.
I have spent quite a few “Spring Breaks” in Costa Rica where I came to appreciate guaro. I’m not the only one either, I have met people who have come home from their Costa Rica vacations raving about the stuff. But before you run out to the liquor store you should know that guaro is also generic term for rum in many Central American countries, so there is some confusion between actual guaro and rum. Like rum guaro is distilled from pressed sugar cane. The taste and quality varies in different parts of Latin America, but in Costa Rica the Cacique label is making a very refined guaro, distilled and filtered using only quality ingredients.
To avoid having a bad experience with 70-proof guaro, it’s important to know something about it. It’s potent enough, sure. It is also clear liquid with a very mild flavor, it most reminds me of vodka. Still, despite its mild flavor you do not drink it straight like tequila.
In Costa Rica guaro-based mixed drinks usually consist of pouring a shot or two into a glass with ice and pouring Fresca over it. Which has its appeal I have to admit. It also mixes nicely with other tangy citrusy soft drinks and fruit juices. This is the Tico way to enjoy this drink.
But I decided to make my first experience of it as a substitute for vodka in a slightly tropical version of a Bloody Mary making it a great drink for a daytime BBQ.
If I have you intrigued about guaro, I’ll let you in on a secret. You are not the only one. The Four Seasons recently embraced guaro by adding the Guaro Sour to their cocktail menu. Here’s my version. GREG