In the past 5 years or so, the US has has taken an alcoholic tour through the Latin culture in search of the ultimate warm-weather cocktail…Cuba first brought us the Mojito (white rum, sugar, lime, mint, and soda) - followed by a full line of artificial mixers, a line of malt beverages from Bacardi, and countless renditions from clueless seasonal bartenders out East. When the name reached “Cosmo” status at venues everywhere, we looked to Brazil for the next sensation where we found the Caipirinha. Nearly impossible to pronounce at first glance, and even tougher to spell (it took me 3 tries in this posting), it consists of Cachaca, sugar and lime. Essentially a Mojito without the mint. I see a pattern forming here…
Speaking solely on hours of research, I confidently predict the latest trend will arrive via the shores of Costa Rica! You will be amazed to see that this libation, a Guaro Sour, once again features a product of sugarcane, this time Guaro. Considered to be a “cane brandy”, Guaros often referred to as a “soft vodka” due to the clear color and slightly sweet taste. Also because it is considered a liqueur, Guaro has less alcohol content and can be enjoyed in mass quantities without the sloppy side effects (as my hours of research sans the hangover showed).
A Guaro Sour was first introduced to me by our talented bartenders at my very good friends Crystal and Jarret’s wedding (you may have visited their lifestyle boutique in Westhampton, Blue 1). What looked like a glass of lemonade was upgraded by a stick of sugarcane fixed to a lime by a toothpick. It took me three or four sips to realize this was a cocktail, and not just a refreshing welcoming drink that is common at so many warm weather weddings. I immediately ran back to the bar, drilled the man about the ingredients in my best spanglish, and ordered tre mas.
The original recipe calls for equal shots of Guaro and fresh lemon juice, sweetened with Kola Syrup. Being that Kola syrup is not common to the states, the caterers opted for a more refreshing and familiar rendition:
Cacique Guaro is the only legally produced brand of Guaro in Costa Rica due to government restrictions and nationalized manufacturing. It may be difficult to find raw Sugarcane, but it makes the drink. Any well-stocked Mexican, Puerto Rican or South American market will have it. Or in other words, try Whole Foods.
2 shots Cacique Guaro
2 oz lime juice (or Limeade Mix if you prefer a sweeter drink)
1 stick of raw sugarcane – tall enough to stick out of a high-ball glass
1 wedge of lime
Fill mixer with liquids and ice. Shake and let rest while you prepare the garnish.
Stick a toothpick halfway into the raw sugarcane, and fix the lime wedge securely on the remaining piece.
Fill a highball glass with ice and using the sugarcane/lime stick, lightly muddle the lime into the bottom of the glass, releasing some of the lime juices, along with the sweetness from the cane.
Fill the glass with the chilled Guaro mix, and you have PURA VIDA in a glass. Salute!