It goes largely undisputed that Nicaragua  makes the best rum in all of Central America. Flor de Caña is the highest caliber, of which the caramel-colored, 7-year Gran Reserva is only surpassed by the 12-year Centenario (which is twice as expensive). Flor de Caña produces a half-dozen varieties of rum, which increase in price and quality as they age.
A media (half-liter) of seven-year, bucket of ice, bottle of Coke, and plate of limes (called a servicio completo) will set you back only $5 or so. Rum on the rocks with a squirt of Coca-Cola and a spurt of lime is called a Nica Libre.
A national competition in search of Nicaragua’s new “official drink” awarded the prize to the creator of the Macuá, a pediatrician from Granada. The drink is a refreshing combination of one part guava juice, one part white rum, a half part lemon juice, and some sugar and ice, and was chosen not only for its suitability to Nicaragua’s agriculture but its suitability for the tropical climate. We have never seen the drink in the wild, but it’s worth asking for.
Reach for a clear plastic bottle of Caballito or Ron Plata, and take a giant step down in price, quality, and class. Enormously popular in the campo, “Rrrrron Plata!” is the proud sponsor of most baseball games—and not a few bar brawls. Bottles are $1 or less.
But wait—you can get drunk for even less! Most street corners and town parks are the backdrop for many a grimacing shot of Tayacán, or its homemade, corn-mash equivalent, often served in clear plastic baggies. West Virginians call this stuff “that good 'ole mountain dew”; Nicaraguans call it la cususa, el guaro, or la lija, brought down from the hills by the moonshine man on his mule.
La cususa is gasoline-clear, potent in smell (including when you sweat it out the next day), and will bore a hole through your liver quicker than a 9-millimeter. It’s sold by the gallon for about $4, often in a stained, sloshing, plastic container that used to contain some automobile product, and then resold in baggie-size portions that look like they should have a goldfish swimming in them.
The national beers—Victoria and Toña—are both light-tasting pilsners and, well, you can’t really say anything bad about an ice-cold beer in the tropics. Expect to pay anywhere from $0.80 to $2 a beer, depending on your environs. Recent additions to the beer selection are Premium, Bufalo, and Brahva, largely indistinguishable, and the Victoria Frost, an ice-filtered beverage with slightly higher alcohol content.
Brahva is the only alcoholic beverage whose production or distribution isn’t controlled by the Pellas family, which produces every other beverage mentioned in this travel guide. Together, Victoria, Toña, and Flor de Caña are known affectionately as “Vickie, Toni, and Flo.”
Alcohol abuse is rampant in Nicaragua  and increasingly acknowledged as a problem. Most towns have an Alcoholics Anonymous chapter, and many churches forbid their members to drink. Nevertheless, most otherwise religious holidays (including Sundays)—in addition to all nonreligious events—serve as excuses to get falling-down drunk.
Just about all men drink and are firm believers in the expression “una es ninguna” (“one is none”). Their benders often start before breakfast and end when the liquor does.
In small towns, women are socially discouraged from drinking, though they sometimes do so in the privacy of their own homes or with close friends. Bigger towns and cities, of course, are more modern in this regard.
Should you decide to partake in this part of the culture and find yourself drunk (borracho, bolo, picado, hasta el culo), be sure you have a decent understanding of your environment and feel good about your company. Remember that most travelers’ disaster stories begin with “Man, I was so wasted…” Always take it slow when drinking in a new place, and remember that your hydration level has an enormous impact on how drunk you get.
And oh, by the way, rum does not make you a better dancer, but it may improve your Spanish.