A highlight from the NCB interview:
Abou-Ganim: My biggest do is to keep it simple. Choose ingredients that complement the flavor of the particular cachaça. To me, with that floral, earthy element, cachaça can be both rugged and refined, masculine but gentlemanly. It lends itself to fresh, tropical fruits and an array of citrus.
You don’t want to mask it with artificial flavors, mixes and syrups. When I think of cachaça and modifiers, I think of things like Cointreau, with its bitter and orange peels, or Domaine de Canton, which will complement the earthiness, or floral liqueurs like St-Germain that complement that floral-citrus element. Parfait Amour, with its violet and vanilla, is another nice one. It’s important to think of liqueurs that will complement without overpowering.
Here's one of Tony's cachaca-based recipes
- 1 ½ ounce Leblon cachaça
- 1 ounce fresh lemon juice
- 1 ounce fresh tangerine juice
- 1 ounce homemade hibiscus syrup
- Chilled soda water
For hibiscus syrup: Bring 2 parts water to boil, add 2 parts sugar; dissolve and add 1 part dried hibiscus flowers. Simmer for 15 minutes. Take off heat and let cool.