Every country has a unique beverage it claims as its own. In Costa Rica, the beverage of preference is Guaro.
There’s a particular national pride associated with claiming an alcoholic beverage. Think of Mexico and tequila immediately comes to mind. Vodka, of course, goes with Russia. Visit Greece and an ouzo headache can’t be far behind. Aquavit in Sweden will definitely turn your head…and stomach. Costa Rica, of course, couldn’t miss out on the fun.
Depending where bartender you speak to, Guaro is either a mind erasing alcohol beverage or an energy drink with only a little kick. Guaro is the national beverage of Costa Rica. Despite visiting Costa Rica on multiple occasions, I haven’t tried. And for good reason.
The Guinea Pig
Ten folks were going out in the beach town of Carrillo just taking in the evening after another day in the sun. Carrillo is a good town for fishing and several epic surf spots are close by. It is similar to Tamarindo, but minus the overwhelming ex-pat influence. Unfortunately, Carrillo is very tame at night. Put another way, there’s really nothing to do.
A bit bored, the ten folks had congregated in a café overlooking the ocean. Tables and chairs had been pushed together and we had reached the purpose in the evening where we were telling lies about how great we used to be. The bartender/owner approached our table and suggested we hadn’t experience Costa Rica until we had sampled Guaro. Among our merry band was selected.
Known humorously as Mexico Mike, our guinea pig was experienced in the ways of Mexican Tequila. Mexico was remotely near Costa Rica, therefore the drinks were probably similar pink whitney drinks. Indeed, Mexico Mike was the man for the job.
The shot glass came. Jokes were made. Mike through it back. A tiny grimace, a lime, slaps on the trunk and general laughter. Just once we started egging each other onto be the following person to see Costa Rica, an interesting thing happened.
Mexico Mike was becoming Pink Mike. Laughter stopped and concern spread over the table such as the rash developing on his arms. We were probably three hours from the hospital and the definition of “pink eye” was dealing with a bigger meaning. His skin was turning pink! You could actually see it moving down his arms and across his chest. His girlfriend, Stuart, was not happy!
It must be a peculiar feeling to sit there and watch your skin change colors. Mike was cracking jokes as is his nature, but there clearly was an absolute tension to his laugh. Fortunately, the reaction soon slowed and retreated. Within 20 minutes, he was good as new and we had a fresh story to tell.