There are plenty of intruiging recipes up on the contest site now. A carrot-juice-based cocktail from Todd Appel of Chicago's Hotel Sax caught Camper's interest, but I gave my vote to Corey Bunnewith's Brazilian Autumn:
2 oz Cuca Fresca Premium Cachaça
.5 oz Lime Juice
.25 oz Domaine de Canton
.25 oz Honey
3 Shiso Leaves
Dash Angostura Bitters
Shake over ice. Double strain into a coupe. Grate nutmeg over the top for garnish.
Why? A couple of reasons:
I've been experimenting with Domaine de Canton for a while here at the Gomecile.
Honey and nutmeg have been favorite cocktail ingredients of mine for a while now.
Public voting ends on Halloween. Cuca Fresca will announce the judges' and People's Choice awards on Nov. 1.
One thing's for sure: Leblon appears to do more than most to educate the market and open the cachaça category in the U.S. for all brands. At some point, I have to believe that either 1) Leblon will tire of carrying everyone's publicity load for such campaigns, or 2) the U.S. cachaça-importing industry will simply run out of Leblon's ideas.
In the meantime, though, they have taken up the cause of fighting regulatory injustices, sclerotic bureaucracies, and prohibition-era legal anachronisms. How? By bringing attention to the fact that TTB requires that cachaça be labeled "Brazilian Rum", relegating the spirit's proper name to the status of mere secondary descriptor.
Leblon's effort takes the form of the "Legalize Cachaça" campaign, realized as "protests" (bar-crawls with hand-held signs, really) seen at Tales of the Cocktail and various cities around the U.S. Last Sunday, the effort came to the Windy City. (Video at bottom.)
Of course, as any trip to a decent liquor store indicates, cachaça is certainly "legal" in that it can be purchased, possessed, and enjoyed by anyone of sufficient age. However, the TTB insists that if you distill a sugarcane spirit of any sort, it must be called a "rum". Leblon seeks to ensure that cachaça be fairly afforded the same treatment as, say, cognac, champagne, or tequila.
Other events have already taken place in San Francisco, Boston, Orlando, Miami, Las Vegas, Philadelphia, and New York City. Upcoming events on September 18 include:
ASIA de CUBA, 844 W. Sunset Blvd. @ The Standard Hotel, 4:30-5:30pm
Leblon and the USBG brought together eighteen bartenders from nine cities for a caipirinha competition during Tales of the Cocktail. In the end, the People's Choice and Judges' awards went to the delegates from NYC (Tad Carducci) and Las Vegas (Tobin Ellis and Andrew Pollard), respectively.
Prepping for 400 people to try (what they expected to show up) was quite an undertaking. I zested about 120 oranges and dried them out in the sun and brought that along as well as squeezing over 200 lime halves to prebatch for people to try. Having thrown this drink together in a couple of hours due to the fact that I got the rules the afternoon of the day before the deadline I was very nervous about my drink not being up to par compared to everybody else especially since we were being judged as a team. I was even squeezing limes up until the people started asking for drinks so we didn’t even get to set up our western theme that I spent over a hundred dollars on decorations, flags, etc.
Here are the winning recipes. First, the Judges' selections:
Sao Paulo Flip
1 ½ oz Leblon Cachaça
½ oz St. Germain
½ tsp Apricot & fig marmalade
2 dashes Peychaud Bitters
Garnish- Lemon Espuma Foam
Glassware: Martini Coupe
To make Lemon Espuma, in dessert whip combine:
4 oz Fresh squeezed lemon
4 oz cane syrup
4 oz egg white
Charge with Nitrous Oxide Canister
Combine ingredients in a shaker, add ice and shake well. Strain in a coupe and top with Lemon Espuma Foam and bitters.
El Calor del [sic] Brasil
2 oz Leblon Cachaça
4 medium basil leaves
1 oz fresh squeezed lime juice
½ oz tangerine Puree (Boiron)
1 pineapple chunk
½ oz homemade spice syrup
Garnish - pineapple spear, basil sprig, and fresh cracked black pepper.
Muddle the pineapple, basil leaf, lime juice, homemade syrup and tangerine puree. Add Leblon Cachaça, ice and double strain over fresh ice. Garnish with a pineapple spear, basil sprig and fresh cracked black pepper.
And the People's Choice:
2 oz Leblon Cachaça
½ oz honey
¾ oz fresh lime
1 fresh pineapple cube
1 yellow grapfruit peel - 2 inches
¼ tsp Garam Masala powder
¼ tsp Tumeric
Muddle the lime, pineapple and honey. Add additional ingredients and
ice. Shake and serve over ice into a highball glass. Garnish with a
slice of pineapple.
While a traditional Caipirinha is always refreshing, [Boca Loca consulting mixologist Jeffrey] Morgenthaler’s Black Dog hit the spot; not too sweet, well balanced and straightforward enough for the home bartender to reconstruct without rounding up difficult to find ingredients.
Here you go:
2 ounces Boca Loca Cachaça
3/4 ounce Lemon Juice
1/2 ounce Simple Syrup
1/2 ounce Egg White
1 teaspoon Apricot Preserves
1 dash Angostura Bitters
Put all ingredients in shaker with ice. Shake vigorously and double strain into cocktail glass or champagne coup.
Think of it as just like the American Repeal Day, just with a longer and likely bloodier history.
The folks at Cabana described International Cachaça Day in their pitch as:
International Cachaça Day was started by Sociedade Brasileira da Cachaça, a Brasilian government organization. It was created to commemorate June 12th, 1744: the day when Portugal, then the colonial authority in Brasil, outlawed the production and selling of cachaça.
First, three restaurants in Chicago (and presumably elsewhere) will be pouring specialty drinks featuring Cabana. The most interesting of these is the Tropical Caipirinha, served at The Signature Room (875 N. Michigan Ave.).
1.5oz Cabana Cachaça
½ oz simple syrup (1/2 shot)
3 oz lychee puree
Splash of soda water
There's also going to be a tasting event at UnCork It (393 E Illinois Street) from 5-8pm. Leticia and I will probably be there, then bounce across the street for dinner at Niu and then Terminator: Salvation at the AMC.
(For those of you about to jump all over me for taking my pregnant wife to a spirits tasting followed by sushi... Drop dead. She doesn't drink and we don't touch the raw fish.)
Boca Loca, true to form, is working with leading mixologists to help us all get out of the caipirinha rut. Here's one from longtime Boca Loca collaborator Jeffrey Morgenthaler (interviewed last year) who, in addition to his masterful mixology skills, probably comes up with the best names for drinks:
1.5 oz Boca Loca Cachaça
0.75 oz fresh lemon juice
0.5 oz simple syrup
0.5 oz egg white
2 tsp pepper jelly
Bitter lemon soda
Shake ingredients with ice until well chilled. Double-strain into a Collins glass over ice. Top with 2 oz bitter lemon soda.
Leblon makes the argument that, in some ways, cachaça is still held captive. This time, the antagonists are not Portuguese colonists but American regulators, who insist that the third-most-distilled spirit in the world be labeled "Brazilian Rum" here in the states.
Oh, how my devout Libertarian soul shudders at the Nanny State reality of it all...
Finally, here are some related posts from around the Web, most with recipes:
A Muddled Thought: "Okay so what does this mean? Well first of all it’s an excuse to make cocktails using cachaça."
Republic of Rum: "The Brazilian Association of Spirits (ABRABE) reports that Brazil produces some 4,000 brands of cachaça, totaling a billion liters each year."
Nightclub & Bar: "Operators looking for an edge are increasing their cachaça and Caipirinha load — not easy, as few of the new brands are available nationally. The Sunset Lounge at the Mondrian Hotel in Miami Beach offers nearly 50 cachaças and a selection of Caipirinhas infused with flavors such as lychee-elderflower and peach-lemongrass."
SFGate: "[The Cantina in San Francisco] already carries at least 27 versions of Brazil's national spirit, which is made from distilled cane juice and used in the caipirinha. On Thursday, it will offer a menu of harder-to-find cachaças such as Weber Haus, which won the Best White Spirit award at the recent San Francisco World Spirits Competition, and Armazem Vieira. Owner Duggan McDonnell is creating a menu of creative cachaça cocktails, and of course there will be caipirinhas and a Brazil-themed DJ."
Metromix New York: "And so, bars and restaurants around the [NYC] have put together their finest cachaça-based drinks for your enjoyment, all day."
Had the great pleasure of meeting Cabana Cachaça founder Matti Anttila and master distiller César Cestari this evening at Zocalo during a meet-and-greet for local distributors.
A great conversation was had, especially with regard to artisanal craft methods and Cabana's double-distillation process (a kind of Cestari trademark touch).
Interesting fact: César's specialty had long been aged cachaças. Cabana is the first application of his considerable skills toward the un-aged variety.
César even brought a miniature jequitibá barrel (above). One thing that has been clear to me thus far — jequitibá seems to be a common variable in many of the favorite cachaças I've yet tried, including Aroma Brasil and Boca Loca as well as Cabana.
And, behold, Cachacagora's first video interview, recorded via my trusty first-generation Flip:
Made In Brasil is an authentic cachacaria, which is Brazilian for House of Cachaca; a place where you can find all types of Cachaca (sugar cane rum). With over seventy on offer, these can be enjoyed straight, with coke or as a Caipirinha.
The most traditional cachaca drink, a Caipirinha – where a healthy measure of the spirit is mixed with fresh lime, sugar and crushed ice – is the most popular option, but the bar offers a vast array of variations on this theme, including the banana or the staff-recommended chilli-raspberry versions.
Their cocktail menu (PDF) currently features Sagatiba heavily.
Hi. My name is Phil Gomes. By day, I work at a public relations firm as its senior vice president of digital integration. I'm a proud SF East Bay native who currently lives in Chicago.
I was introduced to cachaça by my wife, a Carioca. Her mom, in turn, is the president of the Confraria de Cachaça do Copo Furado, a group that meets monthly to talk about Brazil's indigenous spirit. I participated in one of their meetings when I vacationed in Rio in July 2008.
This started me thinking about the basic question of whether cachaça in the U.S. is today where, say, tequila was some decades ago.
So I decided to start this blog as a means to record and share the cachaça-related items I've been seeing day-to-day. I hope to be sharing recipes, impressions, and random thoughts as the U.S. continues to catch on to the potential for this particular spirit.
Oh... The name? "Cachaçagora" is a portmanteau of "Cachaça" and "agora", which is the Portuguese word for "now". In Greek, "agora" also means public square. I hope to meet the expectations of both.
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