Expats planning to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day will have to dig down deep because the local liquor outlets are selling Jameson for 26,000 colons a bottle. That’s more than $50, and that’s not even for the top-shelf fluid that has languished in barrels for decades.
Jameson is one of the obligatory components of Irish coffee, although not everyone would want to put it with anything else.
One cannot find the traditional Irish black beer, Guinness, on tap in Costa Rica. The closest second is a bottle of the firm’s Foreign Extra
Stout, which is bottled in the Caribbean using extracts shipped from Ireland.
The Irish whiskey sometimes is available at expats bars because thoughtful travelers pick up a couple of bottles at a duty-free store and give them to local bartenders. Getting a keg of Guinness through customs is a bit harder.
Despite the ample amount of raw materials, the national alcohol monopoly, the Fábrica Nacional de Licores, has not produced anything that approaches a good Irish whiskey.
The company is heavy on guaro, rum and specialty items such as anise liqueur. The morning that follows probably would be pretty grim after excessive intake of anise.
So the bottom line is that without Irish whiskey, preferably Jameson, St. Patrick’s Day revelers should skip the Irish coffee.
A good choice instead would be something like Cafe Rica, the liqueur, that easily mixes with two spoonfuls sugar and coffee.
The drink, like Irish coffee, should be topped with whipped cream.
There are other triple distilled Irish whiskeys, such as Bushmills and Murphy’s, but they hardly ever are seen on sale in Costa Rica and they have their own distinctive tastes.
With St. Patrick’s Day nearly two weeks away, expat purists will have time to seek out the cheaper real whiskey at border crossings.
The Costa Rican price is twice U.S. retail.