Perched above San José’s buzzing cultural center, Distrito Carmen, a softly lit cocktail bar hides amid a forest of potted plants from the not-so-far-off wilds. Called Selvática — meaning jungle — the acclaimed nightlife destination is the ideal setting for the inspired creations of visiting bartender Liz Furlong, who has made a career out of what she calls “jungle bartending, using what we can find in the jungle, or neotropical regions, to create delicious cocktails without importing ingredients.” (Learn more about Costa Rica’s jungle-to-table scene on Eater’s Guide to the World, now streaming on Hulu.)
Furlong — who has a bar of her own, Bebedero — has created a Costa Rican Old Fashioned that swaps the whisky for rum, of course, and blends freshly squeezed local sugar cane juice, Costa Rican coffee, and local raw cacao for a funky, vegetal expression that channels Costa Rica’s unparalleled biodiversity with spectacular views of the city. Your at-home version will surely capture the mood.
Costa Rican Old Fashioned
2 ounces rum, preferably Ron Centenario 12 Year or another aged Central American rum
3/4 ounce sugar cane juice, fresh pressed or store bought
1/4 ounce cacao coffee (see recipe below)
Orange peel garnish
1 orange slice (optional)
Ice for mixing
King cube ice tray
Pour-over-style coffee maker, V60 or other
Step 1: Combine the sugar cane juice, cacao coffee, and rum in a cocktail stirring glass with ice and stir until the mixture is chilled.
Step 2: Using a strainer, pour the mixture into a rocks glass filled with a square ice cube (or standard ice).
Step 3: Twist the orange peel over the cocktail, then use it to garnish the glass alongside an optional orange slice.
Makes 1 cup
Unsweetened cacao bean, lightly toasted, or dash of organic cacao powder*
1 ounce coffee, ground, preferably Costa Rican
1 cup water, bottled
Place a coffee filter into any pour-over-style coffee maker. Grate a small dash of the toasted cacao bean into the coffee filter, then add the ground coffee and gently stir to combine. Boil water and pour over the coffee-cacao mixture according to device instructions. Set the coffee aside to cool to room temperature, about 45 minutes.
*You can find raw cacao powder online at most health food stores
Correction: December 29, 2020, 12:15 p.m.: This article and its headline were changed to reflect that Liz Furlong does not work at Selvática.