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Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Canny Carrib Booze: 1 Hit 1 Miss

panama drink local food
Seco Herrerano with Varela Rum perched on our cockpit trim.
On blistering, hot humid Caribbean days, drinking a cold wet one offers practically orgasmic relief. Yet between Wayne's gluten-free diet and my own erratic culinary inclinations, I've mostly lost my taste for beer.

We do drink a lot of water, generally spiked with some non-alcoholic, sugarless flavor enhancer - anything from lime juice to the myriad of Crystal-light type products. 

Our first cruising year, my favorite treat was some unsweetened fresh-squeezed passionfruit juice.  I even hiked several dusty miles on a scorching hot day before we left St. Martin to pick up more quarts of it to take, stretching them out as long as I could.  They were especially fabulous replacing o.j. in mimosas.

When we're out and about in the tropics, nothing beats the convenience of an icy cold canned drink.  Here's the latest two we've tried.

Taste Test #1:  Seco Herrerano with Varela Rum (Passionfruit flavored)
Manuela, another cruiser shopping in Shelter Bay Marina's mini mart pointed out the passionfruit flavored Seco Herrerano with Varela Rum.   Manuela mixed hers with a Guiness and thought that was pretty terrific.  

At 7% alcohol - it's equivalent to a beer - it's mostly carbonated water with a little rum and a little fruit juice.  Its fizzy floral passionfruit juice essence danced on my tongue, with just the teeniest, tiniest kick.   Yum!  

Wayne, far less enamored, thought it was "Just ok."

In any case, I give Seco  Herrerano with Varela Rum an enthusiastic "thumbs up."  There is also a cranberry flavored Seco Herrerano with Varela Rum, but I figure why mess with perfection?  Besides, that would smack too much of drinking a Mike's or a vodka mixer, stateside.

cuba libre
Image pilfered from Cuba Libre's Facebook page.
Taste Test #2:  Cuba Libre
After enjoying ringing in New Year's Eve in Cuba over - of course - Cuba Libres, when I saw a can of premixed, chilled Cuba Libre in Colombia at the tail end of a hot afternoon, I indulged.  

It was cold, and wet, and if I hadn't been super thirsty, I might not have finished it.  It's one thing to drink a Cuba Libre with Club Havana rum (basic one is very smooth and about $5/fifth in Cuba), it's another to drink it with whatever crappy rum they used for the canned version.  

We've seen this same raspy brand in most Panamanian stores as well as in Colombia.  Clearly, when it comes to Cuba Libre, my opinion is in the minority when it comes to deciding what's good to drink.  Apparently, I am not totally alone in my opinion, based on uncommon caribbean's post.

My vote on Cuba Libre?  Thumbs down.  It's as bad or worse than drinking margaritas made with margarita mix, instead of a decent tequila mixed with and equally decent orange liqueur and good lime juice, preferably fresh squeezed.

Curious about other drinks we've quaffed in our cruising travels?

Check out these whistle-wetting blog posts (in no particular order)
Bushy's Bulk Rum by the Gallon
Best Painkiller (So Far)
Box Wines and Bad Imitations
Drinking Irony - Marley's Mellow Mood
Beer-ology
Organic and Crude versus Fancy Pants
Dy-na-mite Time on the Indian River
Killer Bees in Nevis
Passoa Drink, Puerto Rico
Biting Back No See Ums

Shelter Bay marina outside Colon near
the Atlantic-Caribbean side of the Panama
canal.  Note the heavily flagged boats are
circumnavigating together as part of
the ARC rally.
Location Location
By the time this posts, we expect to be anchored in the Colon PANAMA area, exploring a bit while working out the logistics and awaiting crew for our Panama canal transit from the Caribbean Atlantic side to the Pacific side.  This post was (pre)written while at Shelter Bay marina (N09.22.033 W79.57.097), just outside Colon, where we had our Admeasure done, the first official step in preparing for transit.