Criollo Old Fashioned

My wife and I went to the Agrohack event a couple of weeks ago. We are looking for ideas and inspiration for new business models and ideas.

Almost every time we attend an event in the Puerto Rico Convention Center, we have lunch (or dinner, depending on the time) at Metropol, a Cuban style restaurant in the Sheraton Hotel right across the street.

That day Mariela, my wife, said she didn’t want anything too heavy to eat. She requested we went to Calle Loiza, a great up and coming neighborhood full of new bars and eateries. We have been frequenting it lately also. Lots of great places to eat and drink!

So we stopped at this small lot tucked in between two buildings that had two rustic kiosks serving stuffed arepas and the other Peruvian food. Since we eat a lot, we order form both.

We serve no alcoholic drinks,” the waitress told us and added that we could step in next door, buy whatever we wanted there and come back and consume it there. So we did.

But as we walked next door, nothing seemed like a bar or a liquor store. Next door is a souvenir shop. We looked at each other as if the waitress was right.

We walked into an incense-scented souvenir store. As we kept walking, behind white curtains, there it was, a full bar, chairs, tables, hardwood floors, bartender and a waitress, all of it.

We were looking for a few beers to bring back to our dinner next door, but then we noticed a cocktail menu, and the Bartender promised a really good Old Fashioned. So we promise to come back after dinner. We did.

This bar has the feeling of being in a speakeasy, although is not. You feel private but not alone. The staff is great.

It turns out we knew the waitress, Elizabeth because she was our employee in a staffing company we work for.

We ordered two Old Fashioned. My wife loves this historic cocktail and so do I.

Henoc, the Bartender got to it quickly, he told us his was going to be different. I saw him grabbing a bottle of Woodford Reserve, so he started right. After a few minutes, he served us a glass with big squared ice and filled all the way to the top with the precious cocktail.

Majarete Old Fashioned!
Majarete Old Fashioned!

As I sipped I notice a sweet familiar taste, but that could not be figured out. I sipped again. Flavors familiar to me during Puerto Rico’s Christmas Season hit my taste buds. It tasted like Christmas. But yet I could not figure out everything in it.

Henoc was happy that I got the Holiday taste in it, and said, “I make my Old Fashioned with Majarete Syrop”.

Majarete (pronounced ma-ha-reh-teh) is a traditional Puerto Rican dessert made in the very old days with corn flour and more recently with rice flour.

This way Hanoc managed to unite a historical dessert that has been in recipe books as early as 1859 and a cocktail equally historical with its first years around 1860 and that by 1881 had the actual name of Old Fashioned.

I was impressed by the creativity and the great balance of flavors used by Henoc. I find it deliciously awesome that our local flavors are being put to great use.

Mariela and I can not wait to be back!

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