In 1994 I stood in a local bar in the countryside near Grecia. A weathered old man walked in from a day in the cane fields. A machete hung at his waist and he was barefoot. He stepped to the bar and put up one finger. The bartender poured him a shot that nearly dribbled over the edge of the glass. The old man looked at his drink and smiled at me before kicking it back. He wiped his mouth and thanked the bartender, then paid and left. I asked the bartender what he’d had and he showed me the bottle of Cacique Guaro. I asked for a shot and have longed for another ever since.
Guaro is a 60-proof hard liquor made from sugar cane, and it’s sweet and surprisingly smooth going down. It’s like the aguardiente you’ll find in Columbia and many other Latin American countries. Ticos take pride in their local products. Almost everybody drinks Imperial Beer, and many still smoke Ticos over Marlboros. Everybody sips Cacique Guaro once in a while.
Today a South Carolina company, Rockland Enterprise, is importing Guaro straight from la Fabrica Nacional de Licores-Fanal in Costa Rica where it’s been produced for sale since 1853. The last time I went to Costa Rica I tried to bring home two bottles, both of which I managed to break in a fit of very bad luck before I even got one sip. I’m eager to find out where I can find a bottle here in the states, and you can bet this time I’ll exercise a little more care in the handling.
If you can hook me up with a bottle, please comment below. I’ll be forever grateful.