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Boozehound: Aguardiente Review

In 2008, XelaWho ran a short but very useful column called “Boozehound”, which reviewed alcoholic beverages from various places around town.  Because some of the information is outdated (i.e. most of the joints are now closed), we will not feature all of the articles.  Nevertheless, one article, this one on aguardiente has stood the test of time. Here we go!

As I mentioned last month, while a devout liquor aficionado, the boozehound is no snob. Sure, he drinks his fair share of aged single malts and snifters of brandy, but the old mutt isn’t afraid to wet his whistle at the local cantina. After all, writing articles for the XelaWho doesn’t exactly afford one a lavish lifestyle and the other option – sobriety – is simply out of the question. So stumble down to the cantina he does, and often, to take in the night-sustaining elixir. Call it what you want – aguardiente, chicha, guaro or cusha – a rose by any other name would still taste as alcoholic. On his most recent bender, the boozehound risked life and liver to review the two top brands to decide once and for all which is the baddest moonshine of all.

1. Quetzalteca. Affectionately known as “indita” to the locals, this fuerte firewater has caused many a late night and achy morning during my time in Guatemala. Of the three mixers I tried – Coke, Sprite and juice – it mixed best with juice, though the locals swear by Sprite with a lime when they’re not drinking it straight.

2. Venado. Smoother than Quetzalteca but more expensive, Venado straddles the fence between good moonshine and cheap rum. Like any rum, it did well with Coke, but experience tells me that it is best and most efficiently consumed in shot form.

 …and the winner is…Quetzalteca! Why? Much like illegal immigrants, Quetzalteca does the same job, but more quickly and for less money. That and I’m still bitter that Suchitepequez Venados eliminated my – nay our – ‘Chivos from the playoffs. Tune in next month for my review of the best beer Xela has to offer.

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