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New York Newsday – “Drinks”

Peter M. Gianotti
Newsday DrinksOne caipirinha starts you humming “The Girl from Ipanema.” Two: you can actually see her.

The refreshing caipirinha is Brazil’s high-octane cocktail. It’s made with cachaça, the clear and potent result of distilling sugar cane juice.

Thousands of cachaças are produced in Brazil. They range in style and substance from the refined and the artisanal to unleaded gasoline.

Beleza Pura, an 80-proof “pure beauty” from Sao Paulo, is a snappy, accessible, unaged cachaça, right for making caipirinhas, adding mojo to your mojito or turning summer nights into Carnival. It’s smooth stuff. Locally, you can buy a bottle for about $30.

Pricier and lush is Rochinha cachaça, a silkier, super-premium choice: the bossa nova of booze. Rochinha has sufficient complexity and smoky notes to suggest a peaty Scotch. Single-barrel, Rio de Janeiro Rochinhas are aged five or 12 years, and cost about $40 and $80.


USA Today – “Raising cane on the bar scene”

Jerry Shriver

Now that bar-hoppers have developed a taste for brain-numbing Brazilian cocktails such as caipirinhas, the stage is set to take that country’s sugar-cane-based spirits further upscale.

Several Brazilian rums, most notably Ten Cane, have already hit the market this summer, touting the fact that they’re distilled from the first pressing of pure sugar-cane juice, instead of the more common molasses. Now, a similar move is being made by a close relative of rum, cachaca (ka-SHAH-suh), also distilled from first-pressed sugar-cane juice. Previously imported cachaca was pretty rough stuff; now it’s getting much better and pricier, thanks to small-batch and long-aged versions.

Excalibur Enterprises has begun to import seven elite cachacas to major East Coast markets and is expanding nationally. Among their offerings are Beleza Pura® (about $28 retail), and 5- and 12-year-old versions from Rochinha ($38 and $80, respectively), which are meant to be sipped.”

Variety – “Cachaca: A User’s Guide”

Dana Harris

Fiery spirit is second only to beer in Brazil.

There’s a familiar growth spurt among spirits: (1) Scotch is popular. (2) Scotch drinkers visit Scotland. (3) Drinkers complain stateside Scotch is rotgut. (4) Liquor stores see a new market. (5) Single malt scotches are available for $200 a bottle.

Now it may be cachaca’s turn. In the U.S., cachaca is best known as the primary component of the potent caipirinha. However, Ollie Berlic, former sommelier for New York’s Gotham Bar and Grill, wants to convince America of the spirit’s subtle pleasures. He spent three years tasting more than 800 of the 5,000 cachacas in Brazil, where the fiery spirit is second only to beer, before developing his own line.

Cachaca (say kuh-SHA-suh), like rum, is made by fermenting sugar. However, rum starts with molasses; cachaca begins as sugar cane juice. Almost all cachaca that makes it into the states is not meant for drinking any more than, say, Vladimir vodka. However, as with tequila and scotch, Berlic says there’s a big difference between handcrafted and machine-made cachaca.

Last week, V Life Weekend brought three of Berlic’s cachacas to the Santa Monica offices of Susan Feniger and Mary Sue Milliken, owners of Border Grill and Ciudad. Feniger says that before they opened Ciudad in 1998, she’d never heard of cachaca. “Now we sell a ton of caipirinhas,” she said.

Sweet and smoky

Tastings were in reverse order: An eight-year-old Armazem Vieira Rubi followed by a five-year-old single barrel Cachaca Rochinha, both of which won gold medals in this year’s San Francisco World Spirits Competition, and then the meant-for-mixing Beleza Pura, which took a silver. It was 10 a.m., but an assistant appeared with a tray of striped shot glasses.

Milliken took a sip of the Rubi, and then another. “Mm,” she said. “Nice. That would make a great caipirinha.”

Feniger liked the Rochinha. “It’s definitely the sweeter of the two,” she said. “Smoky. What kind of wood was it aged in?” (Berlic says the oak barrels were once used for aging scotch.)

If you’d like to know where Berlic’s cachacas are available in Los Angeles, email him at You can also order online at

Read the article on the Variety site 

“Robert Wilson’s 12th Annual Watermill Benefit: Brazil!”

July 30, 2005

7:00 pm

The Watermill Center
Water Mill, South Hampton
New York

Hailed repeatedly as “the best party” in the Hamptons, this gala brings together the worlds of theatre, art, fashion and society in a sophisticated and creative atmosphere. Funds raised during the evening support Watermill programs and the capital campaign for the completion of the permanent building, which will be dedicated on July 15, 2006.
Every summer, the international artists-in-residence program at Robert Wilson’s Watermill Center electrifies the Hamptons with talent and energy. Set against an idyllic backdrop of beech trees and open sky the Watermill Center, founded in 1992, is a dynamic idea factory and studio-at-large for artists, performers, and designers from around the world.This year’s artists-in-residence program is dedicated to emerging artists from Brazil including Paula Gabriela, Os Gemelos, Tatiana Grinberg, and Joao Mode. These artists will collaborate with Robert Wilson and 80 program participants from 32 countries to transform the Watermill Center and its grounds into an “Amazon of the Arts” culminating in the 12th Annual Watermill Summer Benefit “BRAZIL” on Saturday, July 30th, 2005.

BRAZIL Benefit co-chairs include: Franz and Bettina Burda, Bob Colacello, Beth Rudin DeWoody, Kim Esteve and Barbara Leary, Richard and Marcia Mishaan, Alexandra Munroe and Robert Rosenkranz, Katharina Otto Bernstein and Nathan Bernstein, Nessia Pope, Katherine and William Rayner, Helen and Timothy Shifter.

BRAZIL Benefit Honorary Chairs include: Brad Pitt, Philip Glass, Agnes Gund and Daniel Shapiro, Mira Nair, Jeff Koons, Viktor & Rolf, Sean Penn, Isabella Rossellini, Carlos Miele, James Turrell, Wim Wenders, Jeanne Moreau, Zaha Hadid, David Lynch, Vik Muniz, Lee Radziwill, Dorothy Lichtenstein, Donna Karan, Calvin Klein, Alan Cumming, Ron Arad, Marc Jacobs, Paul D. Miller a.k.a DJ Spooky, and Richard Meier.

Enjoy the amazing art installations during a cocktail reception, followed by an elegant seated dinner with live dance music from samba to forro, and … a surprise celebrity guest performer.

A high end Art auction includes 85 paintings, drawings, photos, and sculpture from Enoc Perez to Willem de Kooning. Star auctioneer Simon de Pury will stir up the bids for a live auction of “commissioned portraits” by Annie Leibowitz, Andres Serrano, Jack Pierson, Philip Glass and Robert Wilson.

Vik Muniz has designed limited edition “chocolate” Havaianas flip-flops, a collector’s item to be sold at the event.

Esquire – “How to Barbecue Like a Brazilian”

Beth Greenfield

…AND WHAT TO DRINK WHILE YOU DO. You may have noticed that the caipirinha-Brazil’s potent cocktail of cachaça, muddled sugar, and lime juice-has supplanted the mojito. The sad news is if you’ve been drinking these things stateside, you’ve pretty much been sipping swill. Blame it on the crappy cachaça, an 80-proof liquor derived from distilled sugarcane that, despite being sold under thousands of brands in Brazil, has been imported to the U.S. only in its cheapest forms. That’s all changing, thanks to Olie Berlic, a New York-based sommelier who wants to raise the cachaça bar. Berlic ( imports seven premium Cachaças to restaurants and liquor stores throughout New York, Connecticut, and Florida, with plans for rapid expansion. So blast the Bebel, slip on your Havaianas, and savor one of the upgraded offerings, from the basic Beleza Pura, perfect for caipirinhas, to a smoky 12-year-old Rochinha that’s just too good to be mixed.

Flavor – “From the Cuban Mojito to Brazilian Cachaça, Latin-inspired Cocktail Creations are Catching On”

A.S. Crocket

Churrascarias, Brazilian-style barbecue restaurants like Fogo de Chão and Sal & Carvao, have been popping up in the United States, along with an interest in the Brazilian sugar-cane spirit known as cachaça.

In the past year, importers like Ollie Berlic, a former sommelier and principal of Excalibur Enterprise, have brought in a number of aged and higher-quality cachaças. Cachaça had much the same stigma that plagued tequila for years, but Berlic and others are trying to popularize better cachaças for the U.S. market. Their efforts have brought at least a halfdozen new brands onto the market this year.

Cachaça is made from pure sugar-cane syrup and is the main ingredient in Brazil’s national cocktail, the caipirinha (KYE-per-EEN-ya). Made from crushed lime, sugar and cachaça, this upstart has only just begun to make headway here after years of popularity in Europe, according to Berlic. Following up on the success of the similarly made mojito, cocktail creators are finding new ways to employ the Brazilian rum. Paul Tanguay, corporate beverage director for SushiSamba, a three-unit Brazilian-Japanese- Peruvian-themed restaurant with operations in New York City, Chicago and Miami, says, “We’ve been serving caipirinhas for five years here, and there’s been a lot of interest from customers.”

He points out that while cachaça is basically an unknown spirit in the United States, it is the third best-selling type of liquor in the world after vodka and the Asian sochu, so there’s lots of growth potential. At SushiSamba, Tanguay has created versions of the caipirinha with fresh fruit and also offers a daily signature cocktail or “Sambatini”, many of which use cachaça.

He finds customer response to cachaça and other South American cocktails depends on location. Miami guests have taken the caipirinha to heart, for instance, while Chicagoans are a little more reluctant to experiment. Tanguay also stocks seven cachaças at the bar, but customers have yet to seek out specific brands or develop a following for varieties of cachaças. Only two years ago it was hard to find even two brands of the Brazilian spirit up north. But interest in cachaça is gaining, as is competition among restaurants to be in front of the next cocktail trend.

From tequilas to more mojitos, if you follow the Latin lead, wherever it goes, you’ll always arrive at a good cocktail.

>MAKE IT A MOJITO: This rum, mint and lime
mixture adapts well to added flavors and variations
on a theme
>KEEP AN EYE ON CACHACA: One of the bestselling
liquors worldwide has plenty of room to grow
in the American market

“Premiere Brazil! Cutting-Edge Contemporary Brazilian Films”

July 1, 2005 12:00 am to July 10, 2005 12:00 am

The Museum of Modern Art
Roy + Niuta Titus Theaters
, 11 W 53 Street
New York
call 212 708 9480
for ticket info

Premiere Brazil!, The Museum of Modern Art’s third annual film exhibition whose title is drawn from a sidebar of the Festival do Rio/ Rio de Janeiro International Film Festival presents the most original and outstanding new films from a country that is becoming as well-known for its accomplishments on the screen as in music and on the soccer field.
Premiere Brazil!/New York casts a wide net with respect to genre and style but all the films are prime examples of the newly revitalized energy pulsating through the Brazilian film industry on all levels-production, distribution, and financing. All films are either world, U.S. or New York premieres.The exhibition was organized by Jytte Jensen, Curator, Department of Film and Media, The Museum of Modern Art; and Ilda Santiago, Director, The Rio de Janeiro International Film Festival.

Premiere Brazil/New York
Is made possible by
George Gund III and Lara Lee

Support also provided by Varig Brazilian Airlines, Beleza Pura® Premium Cachaça, and The Consulate General of Brazil in New York.
Special Thanks: Churrascuria Plataforma, S.O.B.s, Brasserio Caviar and Banana, and Trace Magazine


Friday, July 1

7:00 p.m. Quase dois irmãos (Almost Brothers). 2004. Brazil. Written and directed by Lúcia Murat. With Caco Ciocler, Flavio Bauraqui.
This film about two friends, in present-day a senator and a powerful drug dealer, begins with their childhood in the 1950s and follows their shared time in prison in the 1970s. The movie provides a fascinating portrait-marked by popular music and recent political history-of the relationship between Rio de Janeiro`s middle class and its favelas. 103 min.

Saturday, July 2

2:00 p.m. Entreatos (Intermissions). 2004. Brazil. Directed by João Moreira Salles. Salles and his crew followed Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva in the months leading up to his presidential election in the fall of 2002. Granted astonishing access, the filmmakers uncover behind-the-scenes details, including Lula’s unguarded conversations and private moments. 107 min.

4:15 p.m. Quase dois irmãos (Almost Brothers). See Friday, July 1, 7:00 p.m.

6:30 p.m. Alô Alô Carnaval. 1936. Brazil. Directed by Adhemar Gonzaga, Wallace Downey. With Carmen Miranda, Aurora Miranda, Jayme Costa.
Carmen Miranda’s only Brazilian film, and the one that made her famous. Screened to mark the 50th anniversary of her death, this musical displays what came to define the actress: lively, clever eyes, a sexy look, and a beautiful voice. And who can forget those costumes! 96 min.

8:30 p.m. Cabra-cega (Playing in the Dark). 2004. Brazil. Directed by Toni Venturi. With Leonardo Medeiros, Debora Duboc, Michel Bercovitch.
A political thriller depicting Brazil in the 1970s as a violent dictatorship opposed by a handful of idealistic but doomed revolutionaries, one of whom is holed up in a claustrophobic apartment. 102 min.

Sunday, July 3

1:00 p.m. Quase dois irmãos (Almost Brothers). See Friday, July 1, 7:00 p.m.

3:00 p.m. Cinema, aspirinas e urubus (Cinema, Aspirin, and Vultures). 2004. Directed by Marcelo Gomes. With Peter Ketnath, João Miguel.
Two men, one escaping war, the other poverty, embark on a road trip in 1942 selling the twin forces of cinema (for dreaming) and aspirin (for pain) throughout the desolate landscapes and tiny hamlets of northeast Brazil. The powerful imagery of this Brazilian Western evokes a lost time and innocence. 105 min. 102 min.

5:00 p.m. Peões (Metalworkers). 2004. Brazil. Directed by Eduardo Coutinho. Interviews with workers who participated in the 1979-80 strikes in the metallurgic region called ABC in the State of São Paulo. The union was led by Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, the man who was to become president of Brazil in 2002, and the film offers a fascinating document of the movement, its leaders, and the origins of political commitment. 85 min.

Monday, July 4

3:30 p.m. Vida de menina (Diary of a Provincial Girl). 2004. Brazil. Directed by Helena Solberg. With Ludmila Dayer, Daniela Escobar, Dalton Vigh.
Based on a popular book translated into English by Elizabeth Bishop, this film reveals the universe of Helena Morley as she grows up in the remote mining town of Diamantina and the story of a country that grows up with her at a time when slavery has just been abolished and Brazil has been declared a republic. 101 min.

6:00 p.m. Quase dois irmãos (Almost Brothers). See Friday, July 1, 7:00 p.m.

8:00 p.m. Estamira. 2004. Brazil. Written, photographed, and directed by Marcos Prado. An evocative portrait of Estamira, who at sixty-three years of age began treatment at a public clinic for schizophrenia. The filmmaker followed this charismatic, philosophical woman for three years at the enormous garbage landfill where she had made her life and headed a small community of outcasts for over twenty years. 121 min.

Wednesday, July 6

8:00 p.m. Quase dois irmãos (Almost Brothers). See Friday, July 1, 7:00 p.m.

Thursday, July 7

6:00 p.m. Quase dois irmãos (Almost Brothers). See Friday, July 1, 7:00 p.m.

8:00 p.m. Entreatos (Intermissions). See Saturday, July 2, 2:00 p.m.

Friday, July 8

6:00 p.m. Peões (Metalworkers). See Sunday, July 3, 5:00 p.m.

8:00 p.m. Quase dois irmãos (Almost Brothers). See Friday, July 1, 7:00 p.m.

Saturday, July 9

2:30 p.m. Cinema, aspirinas e urubus (Cinema, Aspirin, and Vultures). See Sunday, July 3, 3:00 p.m.

4:30 p.m. Alô Alô Carnaval. See Saturday, July 2, 6:30 p.m.

6:30 p.m. Pelé eterno (Pelé Forever). 2004. Directed by Anibal Massaini.
The life of the universally admired and beloved soccer genius, Edson Arantes do Nascimento, aka Pelé, is revisited through testimonials by old colleagues, friends, and celebrities. Scenes of the main events of Pelé’s life and career are interspersed with footage of his most improbable soccer goals. 120 min.

8:45 p.m. Cabra-cega (Playing in the Dark). See Saturday, July 2, 8:30 p.m.

Sunday, July 10

1:00 p.m. Pelé eterno (Pelé Forever). See Saturday, July 9, 6:30 p.m.

3:30 p.m. Vida de menina (Diary of a Provincial Girl). See Monday, July 4, 3:30 p.m.

5:30 p.m. Estamira. See Monday, July 4, 8:00 p.m.

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