Zacapa Rum gets its name from Zacapa, a small town in eastern Guatemala founded in 1876. It is arguably Guatemala's most well-known export, and much of that has to do with its reputation and unique creation process. All of its rums are aged at high altitude, 7,544 feet, which, according to the distillery, slows down the aging process and helps the rum develop unique characteristics and flavors. It's sugar cane is grown at 1,114 feet above sea level in volcanic soil.
In 1976, owner Ron Zacapa created the now-flagship Centenario in celebration of the town's 100th anniversary. If you want to get a taste of Guatemala without traveling to Guatemala, you can find it easily in the States.
Brewed in Guatemala City, Gallo is a refreshing pale lager with an abv of 5%. It's the country's "oldest continuously produced beer," its brewing history dating back over a hundred years ago to 1896. It is the country's most widely drank beer and you can find it at every bar and at every corner store.
Perhaps the most interesting aspect of Gallo Beer is the legend of how its name came about. When first released by Cerveceria Centro Americana, people started asking for it by the character that appeared on the label: A gallo, or rooster. After that, the beer was officially branded as Gallo. Today, the beer can be found in the United States under the brand "Famousa."
[Photos: Gallo/Ron Zacapa]