Pitorro the “moonshine rum”
The word “pitorro” translates to “to be pickled” in Spanish and is referred to as “moonshine rum.” In Puerto Rico, this distilled liquor dates back to the 18th century, when sugarcane was becoming more readily available. Pitorro is made from fermented sugarcane that is then distilled, aged, and stored in barrels — similar to rum. However, it packs a unique flavor.
Traditionally, pitorro is enjoyed during the Three Kings holiday and is usually served with a slice of lime. This is a highly potent drink with alcohol levels that often exceed 100 proof. So be careful when consuming this drink and be aware of the powerful punch it packs. It can be served neat, with sugar and lime, or combined with various flavors, including many kinds of fruit and spices.
A chichaito is a shooter of equal parts anisette and white rum. If you’re not familiar with anisette, it is a liqueur flavored with distilled anise and is known for its robust and black licorice flavor. The two ingredients are shaken in ice and then poured into a shot glass.
Follow this simple recipe if you want to mix this up for yourself. Maybe add your twist or flavor to it to make it your own, but remember that it already has quite a strong flavor, so be careful how you customize it. Regardless, be sure to try the drink in its traditional form somewhere along the line.
Bilí: a quenepas-infused rum
Bilí is a digestif that originated on the island of Vieques in Puerto Rico. A digestif is an alcoholic beverage served in small portions after a meal to encourage digestion and is traditionally consumed in a social setting. Digestif variations that are served tend to vary with each culture, but the practice is most associated with the French.
Bilí is a rum usually fermented with a local island fruit called quenepas. Quenepas are referred to as the “Spanish lime” grown on a tree with fruit that has the outer appearance of a lime, with an interior fruit that is bright orange and looks like a gelatinous tangerine. The fruit is a mixture of sweet and sour and tastes a bit like lime and a bit like lychee.
If you are interested in learning how to make your own Bilí, check out this fun and colorful video that breaks the process down into ten easy steps.
Made from the bark of the Mavi tree, the beverage mavi comes in both alcoholic and non-alcoholic versions. Fruit and spices get boiled with the bark, and the alcoholic version is fermented with sugar. In some Caribbean islands, mavi is also called “mauby,” and this bittersweet tasting drink is also consumed for health benefits.
If you’re interested in trying your hand at making the non-alcoholic mocktail, try out this recipe from cafedepuertorico.com or the alcoholic version with the Mauby Drink recipe. You can purchase the mauby bark online. There is even pre-bottled in syrup form for those who want to skip making the concentrate. The syrup form simply needs to be mixed with water.
If you are in the process of planning your island getaway, may we suggest booking a room at one of our Numero Uno locations? You can experience the best that the island has to offer at Numero Uno. You can find water sports, delicious food and drinks, and rest after a long day, all in one place.
Our top-rated restaurants at Ocean Park’s Beach House and our new poolside retreat in Piñones serve up Puerto Rican cuisine with a twist. You can even relax at our poolside bar after a long day. We’ll be delighted to serve you your favorite drinks and cocktails, including the ones we covered in this piece. Down some sweet island rum next to the pool or beach, and see just how relaxing and enjoyable we can make your stay!