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Guayabita del Pinar

Guayabita del Pinar

Prodigy of the alchemy

Guayabita del Pinar is the typical liquor of Pinar del Río Province. Nobody dares to classify it, for that reason they don't call it neither rum, nor Whiskey or any other name, so they denominate it as flavorful liquor of Vueltabajo that has its history, dry or sweet that has gone beyond the frontiers.

Its origins get lost in the times of the colony, when some families of Spain settled down in the riverbanks of Cuyaguateje river began to cultivate tobacco in small parcels, since the end of the XVI century.

It was a very old habit among the tobacco planters in Pinar del Río to drink in the mornings, in the cold months, some spirituous liquor to enter the furrow with good willing, where the collection of the leaf soaked the clothes and the body felt it.

At the beginning, like it is natural, the man in the fields used in gusty mornings to drink spirituous liquor, the first derived Cuban drink of the guarapo, juice of the sugar cane that it was necessary to ferment first and to distill later.



That was a warm up activity, and the hard task of the tobacco planter became more bearable inside the humid plantations. But the spirituous liquor (in Spanish Aguardiente) is rough liquor, the one that certainly makes honor to its name, and more than for bad habit they drink it for pure necessity.

It is that for the area, to the shade of the pinegroves, in the banks of the streams and the salients of some other flagstones of the hills in vueltabajo, grew wild an indigenous plant, guava tree of small size that gave a little fruit that, for its dimensions, it deserved the name of guayabita (little guava), happy baptism given by those islanders.

Nobody could say how that casual encounter between the Guaybita and the old liquor happened, sublime union to which later sugar was added to give after some time in carafes a prodigy of the alchemy: The Guayabita del Pinar.

It is in 1892 when the Guayabita takes identity and it stops being a homemade compound that resurges as industrial production in a big house in 189 Isabel Rubio street, between Sol and Virtues streets, in the capital of Pinar del Río, place that at the moment it occupies.

When in 1871, ten kilometers far from Bilbao, in the village of Baguio, Lucio Garay Zabala was born, the men of Vueltabajo, in Cuba, could not imagine that that delicious drink would be a victory later and what was common for them would become something extraordinary with the passing of time.

Together with his brother Fulgencio, Lucio traveled to Havana in search of fortune, in his mind he brought fresh the memories of musts and wines.

Of his relationships with other peninsular ones, in June 24,1892 brought to the market the brandy El Globo. That same year Garay registers two new products: anisette El Portador and the brandi La Africana.

Lucio, in the search of new markets, moves to Vueltabajo where the tobacco planters of the aromatic leaf and strange customs are, who desired that drink that besides heating the throat in humid mornings, was said to have medicinal and digestive virtues.

The business of the Guayabita goes on. Since 1892 the liquor goes increasing and it becomes the queen of Vueltabajo. Although it is certain that it appeared of a well-known liquor, Lucio had more than enough merits because he knew to value and to make even more popular the Guayabita del Pinar; he also established the effective measures for the fabrication and he obtained the first patent for its industrial production.

It is necessary to add a detail: the old liquor with the time was substituted by the alcohol, obtained by distillation of the fine honeys that wastefully produced the numerous sugar mills of the nation. This way, alcoholic breakups, white sugar, the little fruit of the dwarf guava tree, and also the complicity of the time in the hogsheads, produced the nectar of the white and black gods, hold then under Lucio's hand , to a more uniform process, for the demanding palate in what refers to tasters.

The Guayabita continued imposing as a liquor of first quality. With the increase of the demand, Lucio's business is enlarged and in March 3, 1904 inscribe in the book of marks and patents his factory La Occidental, forerunner of the old formula that has arrived entire until our days for delight of the modern taster.

Lucio was a tenacious defender of the kindness of his liquor, and to demonstrate that the facts went farther than the words, he sends a sample to the Exhibition of Cuban liquors, carried out in Havana in 1911, where the variant of the Dry Guayabita del Pinar won the Great Prize.

It was like this that the smiling proprietor could see forever to take off the creature that he has adopted as his.

It was in 1925 when the Guayabita receives the biggest prize being Lucio Garay alive: the Gold Medal in the International Fair of Rome. There the índigenous liquor competed with accustomed wines and cognacs of the most rancid and ancestry origin, and it imposes its condition of unquestionable queen for fortune of the Garay family.

The quality of the liquor has stayed invariable under the state production. Roberto Ortega Falero, administrator of the factory at the moment, referred that first it is necessary to collect the little fruit during July and August, only moments of the year in which the fructification occurs, later it is necessary to select the fruit because the mature ones are left for seeds.

"Everybody knows -said - that it is an endemic plant of the region that cannot be found in another area of the world and therefore it is necessary to sow the seeds to maintain that prodigy of nature. Gramales, Sumidero, Bajas, Punta de la Sierra, Bolondrón, Cuchillas de San Simón, El Moncada, San Diego and El cerro de Cabras, are, among others, points where can be seen growing wild the dwarf guava tree that gives the strawberries to elaborate the delicious liquor."

The selected Guayabita is put to macerate in oak barrels full with alcoholic solution reduced to the 50 percent; in each barrel of 500 liters are thrown two quintals of the fruit, where they will remain in that state during 30 days like minimum, enough so that the alcohol is impregnated with the scent and flavor of the guava.

This alcohol with the time that requests the wisdom, is now put in the revealer, in which are measured the proportions which will go to the spout tank, place in which the mixture rests during 24 hours. We cannot forget that among the ingredients they are the refined sugar, maceration of the oak and water without minerals.

When one has the wanted alcoholic degree, for which is fundamental the work in the laboratory, the liquor is carried to the aging cellar, where the dry Guayabita will remain during three months, while for the sweet one with two is enough.

The time of rest is one of the main secrets of the process, because if it is given more time than required to the breakup it can absorb the flavor of the wood of the barrel and if it is given less time, it can lose then and not to fix the flavor of the guava... in short, a magic of the ethylic alchemy.

In these moments the factory is in an investor process to enlarge its capacities due to the great demand. It is purpose to arrive this year to 100 000 boxes, always to continue growing.

On the other hand, as it has been said, the base of the liquor is in the fields and to assure the plantations of the dwarf guava tree, are established the bases of a development of the species that rests in the biotechnology, thanks to the combined work with the Hermnos Saiz University of Pinar del Río and it is the intention of the industry to assist the new plantations that are arising, without disregarding those that grow wild in the mountains.

As someone learns how to eat, to comb or to get dressed in an appropriate way, it happens equally with the spirituous liquors: it is necessary to know how to drink them, to degust them in the best moment and with civilized ways. That is in fact the purpose of this invitation to the Guayabita del Pinar that is to offer you through the sensations of the good pleasure a part of the culture in Pinar del Río arisen soon after our ancestors.












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