An Introduction to Guaro – Burning Water in Montezuma

It’s always risky fun to drink the locally-made alcoholic products. You don’t go to Germany to order a Miller Lite, and you shouldn’t come to Texas without a disappointingly bland Shiner Bock. And when traveling to Costa Rica, your desired weapon of self-destruction is Guaro.

Gauro is short for Aguardiente, which literally means “burning water”. It is made of fermented sugar cane that is grown, bottled, and distributed in Costa Rica. The dominant brand is Calcique. The drink is popular amongst poor farmers, mainly due to its low cost and slightly better taste than Pine-Sol. The initial smell reminded me of Vodka, but I could have only dreamed for such a smooth, palatable drink.

Cacique Guaro is only 70 proof, but after a few drinks of the substance, you will begin wondering if Costa Ricans understand that “70 proof” means 35% alcohol, not 70%. The day after a Guaro night can only be described as something short of Hell on earth, with mind-splitting headaches that will vaporize your migraine medications. Once you set out to have a Guaro night, you must realize that your next day is completely and miserably screwed, and there is nothing you can do about it but laugh and hope you took more pictures than I did.

Guaro’s dry and sharp flavor dominates any commonly-used mixer that comes in its path, such as cola or orange juice. However, there is hope. Some drinks, such as Fresca or Squirt, will mask the misery of drinking heavy amounts of this toxin. Another good one that Billy and I used was a strong, red energy drink named Maxx.

My first Guaro experience was spectacular. Billy and I were in Montezuma, which is oftentimes titled “Montefuma” by locals and travelers due to its high usage of marijuana. We traveled by ferry, which was quite a nice experience. But there was no time for pot-smoking for me and Billy, we were on a mission to get severely black-out drunk, and do it fast.

After buying the bottle of liquor, which cost roughly US $5 (a somewhat bad sign when buying liquor, no?), along with cups and mixers, we headed down the main street towards the beach. On the way, a worthless bum with long, dirty hair and very few teeth, screams at us, at which Billy replies with one of my favorite quotes from the trip:

Worthless bum: TALK TO ME GUYS! Me: *Laughs in this guys face and keeps walking* Billy: FUCKING CALIFORNIANS! They come here on vacation and never fucking leave!

How did we know this turd was from California? I don’t know. You just do. I have been intensely studying these people for the past 5 months, and still can’t put my finger on it. But when I do figure it out, you will be the first to hear about it. Anyway, I digress…

After continuing our rudely-interrupted walk, we made way to the beach, fired up some drinks, and did some bodysurfing with some girls. Two hours later, the bottle was gone, and I was sugar cane drunk. Life was good.

Click on the few pictures in the album and you’ll see how this bottle stripped Billy‘s very soul. The night continued with a ton of beer and the local soccer championships, after which we danced and Billy and I don’t remember making it home. We do, however, remember the bus ride the next day. You could describe it as “torturous”.

Not wanting to keep this experience a secret to the rest of my friends and family in the states, I brought home some Cacique, and it will be involved in another party – my trip back to Austin. Coming soon after we finish up the Costa Rica series!

Posted in , by Berto.

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