A bottle of 23 year old Ron Zacapa Dos Centenario rum. This stuff is amazing.
Let me say that again: THIS STUFF IS FREAKING AMAZING.
It is hands down, the best whiskey I have ever had... and I have had a lot of whiskey.
I was introduced to Ron Zacapa by my father-in-law. At the time, he wasn't my father-in-law. He was just the father of the girl I was having crazy, amazing sex with. Eventually, I would go on to marry that girl,and I think we both (the future father-in-law and I... not the future wife and I... I don't think she had any idea) knew it. He wanted to find out who the heck this guy was who had traveled all the way to Guatemala with his daughter. He correctly surmised that good whiskey was a good way to get me talking. (read more)
After dinner, the girls went upstairs to talk, and the boys settled in downstairs for the inquisition. At 10 pm he opened the bottle...
Hemingway, Central American politics, psychedelic music, Neruda, tropical birds, Joni Mitchell, and back to Hemingway... We talked and drank and argued and agreed.
He told me about Ron Zacapa as he poured my first glass, neat, and somehow, I never reached the bottom. Miraculously, every time I started to get close, I would glance away and my glass would magically refill.
It was fucking awesome.
At 3am, the bottle was empty.
Flash forward a few years later.
My buddy Dave and I are standing on top of a volcano that we had just ridden rented mountain bikes up to the top of. We are looking down into Antigua, Guatemala. It's beautiful.
I sat down and opened up a my backpack. I handed Dave a flask of Ron Zacapa. We drank the whole thing. The next day I married that girl.
That was pretty fucking awesome too.
I tell you all of this to let you know that, to me at least, Ron Zacapa is more than just a bottle of hooch. It is tied and twisted into my blood the way a ribbon is braided into a girl's hair. It means something.
It also tastes amazing.
I get three bottles a year. Christmas. My birthday. Father's Day. It's not crazy expensive. $42ish dollars a bottle depending on where you buy it. When I first started drinking it, I had to bribe people who were coming up from Guatemala to bring me some. Now? You can get it at BevMo.
There are several varieties, but I think the 23 year old is the sweet spot. The 28 year old is better, but it costs twice as much. To be honest, I would rather have two bottles of the 23 than one of the 28.
It is a rum, but unlike any rum you have ever tasted. After distilling, it is stored at 7,500 feet, on top of a volcano, in barrels that have previously been used to age "robust American whiskey, delicate sherry and fine Pedro Ximenez wines." It drinks much more like Macallan than it does Bacardi.
Absolutely no mixing is needed. I tend to drink it in a wide mouth tumbler with a single ice cube, but feel free to experiment. (The best Mojito I have ever dreamed of was made with Ron Zacapa...)
I can't express enough to you how truly spectacular Ron Zacapa is. If you like good whiskey, you will love Ron Zacapa.
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