Ron Zacapa of Guatemala and Flor de Caña of Nicaragua have both developed something of a following in the United States in recent years, but the most important brand of Costa Rican rum, Ron Centenario, remains relatively unknown. Indeed, even in Costa Rica, the rum isn’t famous. One valet at Hacienda AltaGracia tried to convince me that Centenario was Guatemalan, much to his embarrassment when he looked up the brand on his smartphone.
Younger versions of Centenario work beautifully in cocktails such as a classic daiquiri, if you can find someone who knows how to make one. But I especially enjoyed sipping the Centenario 20 años Fundación neat as a digestif. A solera-style blend of rums aged up to 20 years, this spirit smells enticingly of caramelized banana and coconut, and it tastes elegantly smooth and rich, with notes of molasses and sweet tobacco.
You can find Ron Zacapa and Flor de Caña in well-stocked liquor stores in the United States, but Centenario still appears infrequently. It’s worth seeking out while in Costa Rica, whether at a hotel bar or an airport shop.