Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Cacique: Costa Rican Adventures and Vodkas

April 16th had finally arrived, and my sister and I were winging our way off on our annual vacation. These tropical jaunts are strictly a girls only event and typically involve some really tough, daily decisions – whether to suntan on the beach or beside the pool, are we having afternoon cocktails and appies on the patio or the open air lounge, and, of course, which wine to drink with dinner. Yes, it’s often difficult, but someone has to accept these challenges.

This year, Anita and I chose Costa Rica, a place neither of us have visited before. So get set for the first of several installments about our culinary adventures in South America.

My one goal for this trip had been to be ensconced at the Flamingo Beach Resort’s swim up bar( seen below) with Piña Colada in hand no more than 30 minutes after arrival at the hotel. In the end, though, I only had one Piña Colada the entire trip because that first evening I discovered Cacique, the locally produced, clear spirit that Costa Rica has claimed as its national drink.

Made from cane sugar – of which there is a whole lot growing everywhere – Cacique is sometimes called the Tico Vodka (Tico referring to all things Costa Rican). Over the course of the week, we tried it straight up, on ice, and in Pura Vidas – a delicious tropical cocktail made from crushed lime, OJ, Cacique, and just enough Grenadine to give it a lovely pinky-red colour. Miguel, one of our bartenders (shown left) was always delighted to pour another version or demonstrate the technique of crushing limes to make the flavour just so.

Ultimately, though, we decided Cacique is best served on the rocks perhaps with a twist of lime. It has an uncluttered, refreshing taste, and with a 35% alcohol content, it’s a little lighter than most comparable spirits so it’s easy to drink.

Unfortunately, it’s almost impossible to get anywhere except Costa Rica. We both spent some considerable amount of time after getting back home and only came up with one possibility. Actually, as an American, Anita has one possibility: as a Canadian, I appear to have none because they don’t ship here. Check out the Guaro website and let us know if you figure it out.

At the duty free on the way home, I picked up a bottle of VSOP Hennessy and one $6 bottle of Cacique. Anita went all out, snagging two bottles of Tico Vodka. In retrospect, perhaps she made the better choice. Guess we’ll just have to head back to Costa Rica when our supplies run out.

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