Delicious Drink Alert - Guayabita del Pinar Dulce

This post is not about whiskey, but it is about one of the most delicious beverages I have ever tried. It's something I brought back from my recent trip to the Caribbean and just opened up for a taste this evening. The drink is called La Occidental Guayabita del Pinar Dulce and it's a sweet, cane liquor (like some rums) with flavorings from the guayabita (literally 'little guava') fruit of western Cuba. This drink has been produced commercially since 1892 but hasn't spread far beyond its home town.

I had not been able to find much information on Guayabita del Pinar before opening it, but from the little I'd read I was expecting more of an herbal-infused flavor halfway between gin and rum. Boy did it throw me for a loop when I twisted off the cap to find one of the sweetest, most candy-like flavors I've ever encountered. I'm not a big fan of super-sweet drinks, but something about this one is very nice. It's smooth and creamy and nutty and fruity all at the same time and all in perfect proportion. It's like a tootsie roll, some almonds, and a jolly rancher (grape?) got mashed together and then any sourness or bitterness was sucked out leaving only sweet, fruity, nutty, chocolaty smoothness. It is so smooth in fact that I might not guess it had any alcohol based on a quick taste, much less 30%. Sorry to gush, but this stuff is unique and very good, try to get your hands on a bottle!

I enjoyed my first glass of Guayabita del Pinar over a bit of ice while reading up on the product's history here. Turns finding detailed information about it in English is tough, but if you speak Spanish you can learn a thing or two on the back of the bottle or on a few Spanish language sites around the web. One thing that is clear in any language is that Guayabita del Pinar is a tough product to find anywhere outside of the region where it's produced - a beautiful region I might add as you can see in the photo below. So I'm going to have to nurse this one bottle to make it last as long as possible. If you know of anyone headed to Cuba tell them to max out their liquor quota on Guayabita del Pinar - decent rum can be bought anywhere, but this unique tipple is worth the hassle of finding it and bringing it home. There's also a dry version of Guayabita del Pinar out there and I'd love to hear from anyone who has tried that. Given that sweetness is by far the dominant characteristic of what I'm drinking I can't imagine how a dry version could maintain any of the same flavors, but who knows. Cheers!


p.s. There's some sort of object in the bottom of my bottle. It looks like a prune with a stem, but I assume it's a guayabita. In a few months when all the juice is gone I'll have a taste of the little guava.

10 comments:

Anonymous said...

ITS THE FRUIT FROM THE DWARF GUAVA TREE (GUAVA FRUIT) AND FROM WHAT YOUR DESCRIBING THE DRY IS JUST AS GOOD! IM DRINKING IT RIGHT NOW

Anonymous said...

Me mum just brought me back a bottle of this from Cuba and it is incredible! I'd say it's more akin to an Armangnac, though slightly sweeter and infinitely smoother. I mean it goes down like velvet. She goes down there twice a year and next time I asked her to bring me a case or more! I suppose on the one hand it's nice a gem like this remains a hidden gem, but it's just so good it has to be shared!

Anonymous said...

I just received a bottle on 4/18/12.I must say I was a bit disappointed. I found it tasted quite plain. I was expecting a deeper,back of the mouth flavor with a better hint of "guayabita". Whatever flavor it had seemed to disappear as soon as it hit my mouth.

Anonymous said...

I got a bottle of the "seck" (dry) version from a friend who lives in Pinar, and it has a great kick (40% compared to the sweet's 30% alcohol). I find it strong and interesting, with a hint of herbal notes. Sweet it ain't, but it is good!
Kilian

Floriano_Algarve_Portugal said...

I was very suprised too, when i tried the liquor...very good. A friend of mine offered me a bottle when he came from his trip to Cuba but i didn't tried it until a few days ago...it's been 1 year i have the bottle :-). Wonderfull. let me leave a sugestion...try it with 7up and ice crashed...Kind Regards.

Anonymous said...

Mine wasn't very sweet at all but there is nothing on it that looks at all different than your pics. Quite nice though- good in boiling water, sugar and lime juice.

Octavio A. Landolfi said...

I tried the dry one last year (2012) and as soon as I heard a friend was going to Cuba I asked her to bring me one. It is by far my favorite rum, and I live in a rum producing country (Dominican Republic). But the taste and the tang is just... amazing. If you can, get a hold of one. They're rare. And I noticed that the cap is different this time around. She told me it was hard to find.

Anonymous said...

Recently back from a trip to Cuba, visited the distillery where they make it.I do not drink, but I loved this stuff. Only brought back 2 bottles for gifts, one did not make it to the intended recipient. Wish I knew where to get it, it was only 3$ CUC, Had it straight with some dark chocolate, mmmnnn

48920jeff said...

Just got back from Pinar del Rio Cuba. The Guayabita was the Seca (dry). Simply indescribably wonderful. At 3.1 CUC each we brought back 4 bottles and will guard its use. Absolutely beggars the imagination as to why this superior liquor is unavailable worldwide. I mean really, this drink is a five time grand prize winning spirit and yet it remains cheap and relatively unknown outside of its native province. Fantastic

Anonymous said...

they both look the same other than some of the color on the bottle and one that said sweet in spanish anonymous you probably are tasting the dry version cause the sweet is very sweet and doesnt go bad over time.