It’s always fun to get to know your bartender on vacation, and one of the most passionate mixologists we’ve ever met is Luis Chacon at Hotel Mountain Paradise in Costa Rica.
Luis is a master at his craft, making his own mixers from local Costa Rican ingredients, and harvesting fresh herbs from his poolside garden at Las Tejas.
A staple ingredient in Costa Rican cocktails is Cacique Guaro, a liquor made from sugar cane in the country since 1853. It’s often called Four Feathers, in honor of the cacique (tribe leader) wearing four feathers on his crown in the label.
The best way to describe cacique liquor is that is pretty neutral tasting, much like a vodka. However, it’s slightly sweeter with a lower alcohol content.
At the poolside Las Tejas bar, expect bartender Luis to “wow” you every time. He’s the expert showman, mixing drinks to the beat of the music in his shaker, then adding a thyme sprig on fire with his torch to add a smoky touch to your cocktail. I think during our weeklong stay, we probably tried every one of his cocktails. And every single one of them was stellar.
The signature drink at Hotel Mountain Paradise is the Morena Mia, a delicious tangle of Cacique, raw sugar, tangerine and lemon juice & cinnamon.
Some of his other cacique specialties include the Dona Maria, made with cacique, ginger, green tea, agave, tangerine/lemon juice & passion fruit.
Another standout is the “S” Mayuscula, made with Cacique, wild berries, thyme, tangerine lemon juice & honey.
Luis is also quite the margarita expert, and he has put his expert spin on the cocktail with a variety of Costa Rican tequila drinks.
Don’t miss the Paraiso Salvaje, made with a jalapeño-infused tequila, Luis’ signature tangerine lemon juice, triple sec and passionfruit. The La Nonita is also amazing, made with a mix of tequila, triple sec, tangerine lemon juice and fresh ginger.
One of our most memorable moments during the vacation was when Luis took us on a tour of the farm next door, pointing out where they harvest the tilapia, and allowing us to meet the many animals on the property.
What we loved best about our visit to Hotel Mountain Paradise was the warmth and friendliness of its staff. In fact, we all still stay in touch today. That’s a testament to the hospitality of Costa Rica, and the wonderful people who live there. We can’t wait to go back.