Friday, June 10, 2011

Explorations in Guaro

In an effort to put something together for this month's Mixology Monday (using obscure base spirits), I've decided to try to do something with guaro, the very mild sugar based spirit from Costa Rica that I've previously blogged about.  Though cane-based, guaro is probably closer to a coarse vodka in taste.  Much like they like their cheese, evidently Costa Ricans like their booze a bit subdued.  Guaro is traditionally consumed with lime and sugar like a daiquiri, though I've had it with mango as well.  I've made a several attempts, none of which quite hit the mark for different reasons.

After a disastrous experiment involving guaro, lemon, and cynar that I won't go into any more, I though that I'd stay with a tropical theme but use a more northern, but still mild, sweet mixer, watermelon.  The resulting cocktail is called the White on White.

White on White

2 ounces of guaro
1 ounce of watermelon juice
0.5 ounce of lime

Stir ingredients with ice and pour into a chilled cocktail glass.  Garnish with a twisted lime peal. 

Meh.  The goal of the drink was to surround guaro with as mild of flavors as possable in order to allow the natural flavor of the guaro to show through.  The problem was that rather than create subtlety, it led to blandness.  Not a bad drink, as my wife an attest, but not a memorable one.  Sort of the Miller Light of cocktails - high on "drinkability" but not so much on flavor.  Watermelon is a very mild sweetening agent (not a whole lot sweeter than water), requiring me to use a good bit of it to get the desired effect and the lime is similarly fairly mild, which in many cases like my Painted Forest Cocktail is a good thing, but contributed to the washed out flavor here.

My next attempt tried to keep with the watermelon but feature another booze instead of the lime and be more of a stiff drink.

Halo Effect

1.5 ounces of guaro
0.75 ounce of watermelon juice
0.5 ounce of lemoncello (homemade)

Shake ingredients with ice and pour into a chilled cocktail glass.  Garnish with a mint sprig.

Better but still not great.  The lemoncello probably came through more than the other ingredients.  Though boozy, and not as watered down, this drink came across a bit sweeter and gave way to a pretty solid lemon taste.  I think my lesson here is that there is a reason that you don't see watermelon juice used in cocktails:  it's flavor per volume ratio just isn't high enough. I'm going to give guaro another shot but probably pair it with a couple of stronger spirits and let it add the booze but not flavor quotient.

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