For 27 months, I lived in “el pais de lagos y volcanes,” the land of lakes and volcanoes: Nicaragua. I served as a Peace Corps volunteer teaching English and training teachers on best practices for the classroom. Every day was a new adventure or obstacle to overcome (depending on my mood that day). In Nicaragua, I was able to “find myself” and really discover how much I could accomplish on my own. I climbed several volcanoes, learned Spanish, and ate an avocado I pulled off a tree growing in my own backyard. Being a Peace Corps volunteer really aligns itself with the phrase “you can get used to anything” (read: bats, 100 degree weather, flooding, bacterial infections, washing clothes by hand, inconsistent running water, and more things of the like).
You realize just how strong you really are. During this time I was able to reflect on how blessed we are to have been born in the United States and all that we have but take for granted. I met some really great people who at first seemed very different than me but with time I learned that underneath it all we are all the very similar; we, cry, smile, hurt and love the same.
Of course while living in Nicaragua, I partook in my fair share of alcoholic beverages. They keep things pretty simple. Here are 3 drinks that you should definitely try if you ever find yourself wanting a little Central American fun:
Flor de Caña
Flor de Caña is Nicaragua’s award winning rum and it varies from light, dark and aged varieties. The light rum is good for making drinks such as mojitos. Before I tried the dark Flor de Caña rum I thought of myself as a rum and coke kind of girl, not really enjoying the actual taste of rum. After trying Flor de Caña’s Gran Reserva 7, I was able to drink my rum with a little bit of ice and some lime juice because it goes down so smoothly. You can find Flor de Caña in specialty wine or liquor stores, although it can be a little pricey.
This is not the best beer I have ever had and it probably wouldn’t win any awards at your local craft beer festival. Toña is one of only two national beers in all of Nicaragua and it can be seen at almost any event in the country. Although many call it a watered down Corona, at the end of a long day in the hot Nicaraguan sun, there is nothing like an ice cold Toña to cool you down.
One can use a Toña or any other beer to make this drink. A Michelada reminds me of a Central American version of a Bloody Mary. The ingredients of this drink include lime juice, Worcestershire sauce, soy sauce, hot sauce, black pepper and of course a 12 oz bottle of beer. It’s a spicy way to start your day.
Be sure to try these if you’re ever in Nicaragua! Salud!
- Kellie Bland