Magnum Drinking Opus: Honduras

Nov 09, 2014

The first beer I had in Honduras was not so oddly with the first meal I had in Honduras. It also happened to be the best meal I had in Honduras. Grilled chorizo with plantains beans and rice. SO good.

The weird part of this experience was it all happened at a carwash in San Pedro Sula.


The beer in question was Port Royal.


A slightly darker lager. A premium Honduran beer. Almost tastes imported. Almost. It was a nice upgrade from Gallo and it’s inferior Guatemalan counterparts. But as quickly as it was put in front of me, my fling with Port Royal had ended. Supplanted with a three-month love affair with a true lifesaver.


Before I get to that little story I would be remiss if I did not at least mention Barena.


Another of Honduras’ premium lagers, Barena is an absolute afterthought. I drank three over the course of my time on Utila simply so I could write about it. Frankly everything I thought about it has been lost as it was so completely forgettable. I will say on the plus side of things, Barena was not so repugnant as to make it memorable for all the wrong reasons. So there you go. Barena was good enough to remember, but not so bad as to frequently recall with horror.


For me, the taste of Honduras will always be that of Salva Vida. 


Salva Vida, or simply Salva, was responsible for most of my earned money, largest debts, greatest triumphs and certainly all my questionable decisions (read: hanging out of a speeding, overly-crowded tuk tuk a few inches off the ground at 1am on my birthday while being driven to a locals-only type club to ‘dance’ before walking home alone only to be found asleep lying on the porch with my feet in a hammock).


Salva Vida is not good. But it is not good in the same way PBR isn’t any good, but you still drink it with reckless abandon at any house party or weekend festival. For millions of post hipster PBR drinkers, it comes with a cache of community and a bit of nostalgia. That is what drinking Salva Vida is on Utila. Most do not drink Port Royal or Barena. I knew of one person who ever purchased Barena with even a passing regularity and a second person who only drank Port Royal. Easily 85 percent of people living on or visiting the island drank Salva Vida. If you simply ordered a beer – you would be handed a Salva. So for me Salva Vida brings up fond memories. It is not a good beer, but that doesn’t matter. I love it all the same.


Beyond beer on Utila there is only one other drink worth discussing… rum. To be specific it is Flor de Caña. If being geographically correct and a stickler, this would not be mentioned here as Flor de Caña is not Honduran. It is from Nicaragua, but it is so much more associated with Utila in our travels it is only right to mention it now.


Every rum drink made and purchased on Utila is made with Flor de Caña. Which is saying something as it is noted as being one of the finest rums available. Not usually is a top shelf spirit used so widely as a well drink. 

Now I am no rum expert. A drunk? Now, that is debatable, but that is from things like Salva and not actual rum. But Flor de Caña is really a damn fine rum. The best we have had by a wide margin. The most widely consumed is the 4-year-old dark iteration.


It is best served with either lemonade (which on Utila is actually limeade with a tiny bit of lemon flavoring added as they do not grow lemons, but have a shit ton of limes on the island) which is refreshing and delightful, or with soda, generally Coke (known as a Cuba Libre) or Fresca. Simple cocktails for simple drinkers. Nothing is really needed as Flor de Caña could definitely be used as a sipping rum, and frequently is by the island’s many professional drinkers.


The best way to experience Utila is a shot of Flor with a Salva back. You will not be disappointed. Especially not after a few rounds of that anyway.

Category: Food

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