There are some vacation destinations that are as well known for the spirits in the area as they are for the breathtaking vistas or historical curiosities. If you are in Cuba, you have to try a Daiquiri. Or explore the world of tequila when you head to Mexico. Wandering around France? Have a few glasses of wine from the many wine producing regions there. And of course you need a few pints of beer as you explore the German countryside. This is something that Flor de Caña and the government of Nicaragua saw, and felt was important to develop as part of their identity. A contest was created. It was officially sponsored by Nicaragua's National Tourism Institute and many businesses that would benefit from more travelers choosing to explore this Central American paradise. The National Drink Contest was in two parts, one to create the cocktail and one to name it. This contest was held in 2006, the same year a very ugly election for their nation's president was going on.
Many ingredients were explored by a wide range of entrants. Tamarind, sapodilla, pitaya (dragon fruit), bananas, coconuts, and every flavor native to that county was added to one cocktail or another. The winner was guava and rum in the form of the Macuá, created by pediatrician Dr. Edmundo Miranda Saenz. It has the elements needed to make a national cocktail: the spirit the area is known for, a native flavor, and a libation that is incredibly simple to make. While the election of the drink (and the president that year) had its share of controversy, the light flavor of this cocktail does not.
The Macuá (by Dr. Edmundo Miranda Saenz)
2 oz./ 60 mL white rum (Flor de Caña is recommended, since it is Nicaraguan)
2 oz./ 60 mL guava juice
1 oz./ 30 mL fresh lemon juice
1 tsp./ 5 mL simple syrup (or to taste)
Garnish: Orange or Lemon slice
Pour the ingredients into a mixing tin. Add Ice, then shake for 20-30 seconds until well chilled. Strain the mixture into the highball glass over fresh ice. Place the orange slice on the glass and serve.
This is a light and refreshing tropical cocktail, that could be on any drink menu for the summer. The guava is tricky to get, but I was able to find some at my local specialty food store. If you do not have Flor de Caña, use a sweeter white rum. I used one with a little extra flavor to it, and it did not go well. The rumminess was overpowering, mugging the sweetness and delicacy in the rest of the drink. Or maybe this comes out in February, when you are pining for warm beaches and salty seas while staring out into the snow. Either way, it is a great trip to the tropics for your taste buds.