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Since Aguardiente is a kind of sugar cane liquor, it has the same history as it’s many cousins. The discoverer of the Americas, Christopher Columbus brought back a lot of things he found in his journey to convince the monarchy to colonize the new world. In this great bounty, there was a drink “with a bittersweet taste, which the Quechua Indians called Guarapo”. Guarapo was what the Indians called their alcoholic infusion that eventually Colombians transformed into the tasty, warm and comforting Anise flavored firewater eventually known as “Aguardiente.”
The Portuguese make a lot of Aguardente to fortify their Port wines. The wines behind these Portuguese spirits are generally quite drinkable in themselves. Because most of these spirits come from the Port wine industry, Aguardente Vehla (“old firewater”) is the beneficiary of some lovely vertical integration. The various barrel-aged Port wines are matured for up to 30 years. Those prime, hoary Port casks are then recycled for use in aging Aguardente Vehla. Those distinctive Port influences make even a modest bottle of Aguardente a different creature from your average aged brandy…
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