The Flower Of The Cane

28 March 2012

Although Americans tend to associate Nicaragua with civil war more than fine spirits, this now-peaceful country produces one of the world’s greatest rums: Flor de Caña.

This company dates back to 1890, but it didn’t start producing rum called Flor de Caña until 1937. The revolutionary years in the 1980’s turned out to be a blessing in disguise. The Sandinistas didn’t have the best reputation for protecting private property rights, to put it charitably, so to safeguard their stocks of rum, Flor de Caña sent many of their best barrels to neighboring countries. By the time Flor de Caña could finally repatriate their spirits without fear they would be confiscated by the government, they had their hands on some of the largest and finest stocks of aged rum in the world.

While staying on an island in idyllic Lake Nicaragua, I ordered a glass of the 18-year-old Flor de Caña. Seeing my interest in the rum (or perhaps noticing my notebook), the bartender asked if I would like to sample range of different ages. Why yes, yes I would. The couple from San Francisco next to me certainly had no objection, and we began our impromptu tasting. (more…)

El Jicaro

18 March 2012

I’ve been a little off my usual posting schedule this week, while I’ve been investigating the natural and cultural treasures of Nicaragua. Currently, I’m overlooking a little boulder-strewn horizon pool at Jicaro Lodge, a gorgeous eco-lodge on its own islet in Lake Nicaragua.

I dutifully sampled the local Jicor jicaro liqueur, distilled from jicaro pulp and mixed with sugar and water (jicaro trees produce hard, coconut-like fruits). It was not particularly to my taste, with a flavor of medicinal bananas.

In the lodge’s El Jicaro cocktail, a mix of Jicor, club soda, sugar syrup, grama tea and lime served in a jicaro nut with a bamboo straw, it overpowered absolutely everything.

In the unlikely event you enjoy medicinal bananas and also come across a bottle of jicaro liqueur, by all means, go for it. But I think I’ll keep to the superb local Flor de Caña rum instead.