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Beverage Media: “Cocktail Corner: Cachaça Magic”

Dale DeGroff
Cachaça MagicTequila, Tapas, Spanish chefs, and all things Latin are the darlings of the food and beverage world these days so its no surprise that cachaça, the sugar cane spirit from Brazil, has been showing up in cocktail bars more and more. The Caipirinha, a muddled lime and sugar drink that would qualify as the national drink of Brazil, is the drink that is driving the interest.

The small group of cachaça brands available in the United States is about to double. Excalibur Enterprise, a small importing company, is bringing in seven new cachaça bottlings from four different producers, one of which is bottled under their own label, Beleza Pura…Beleza is an unaged classic cachaça that is perfect for mixing the famous Caipirinha…

Excalibur is importing three bottlings from Armazem Vieira. The first is the four-year-old Esmeralda that has the bright green vegetal notes characteristic of cachaça. Rubi is an 8-year-old bottling that retains the vegetal note but is softer on the palate with a slight butterscotch note and finally the Onix, a 16-year-old solera aged offering with a definite concentrated cane and butterscotch finish.

I saved the best for last. The two bottlings of Cachaça Rochinha (ho-shinya) aged in used Scotch barrels are 5 and 12-year-old single barrel bottlings. The 12-year-old shows subdued cachaça characteristics with a silky finish that matches a fine Cognac.

Cachaca, like tequila, has such a strong and distinctive flavor…Interestingly, lime is one of the best pairings for both spirits. I have been doing Caipirinhas and fruit flavored Caipirinhas for years, but I recently came upon another recipe popular in Brazil with the younger club crowd I want to try. Check it out below along with a couple of my favorite fresh fruit Caipirinhas.

RECIPES
Caipitetra

Ingredients:
1 1/2 ounces of Beleza Pura Cachaça
Three small pieces of orange with the rind
Four or five mint leaves
Teaspoon of honey
Note: If too sweet toss in a lime wedge or two

Preparation:
Muddle the fruit, mint, and honey in the bottom of a mixing glass add the cachaça and a rocks glass full of ice. Shake well and pour the entire contents back into the glass. Garnish with a sprig of mint and an orange slice.

Caipirinha de Uva
(red grapes)

Ingredients
1 1/2 ounces of Beleza Pura Cachaça
Four eighths of a lime
Four seedless grapes
3/4 ounces Demerara sugar syrup
1/4 ounce Velvet Falernum
Rock Glass

Preparation: Place lime quarters and the grapes in the bottom of the mixing glass, add the Velvet Falernum and the syrup and muddle well. Add cachaça to the mixture in the mixing glass and using the rocks glass, measure a glass of ice into the mixing glass and shake well. Pour the entire contents of the mixing glass back into the rocks glass and serve.

Cherry Caipirinha*

Ingredients:
1 1/2 ounces of Beleza Pura Cachaça
Four eighths of a lime
4 Cherries (pitted)
1/2 ounce Simple syrup
1/4 ounce Velvet Falernum

Preparation:
Place lime quarters and the cherries in the bottom of the mixing glass, add the Velvet Falernum and the syrup and muddle well. Add cachaça to the mixture in the mixing glass and using the rocks glass, measure a glass of ice into the mixing glass and shake well. Pour the entire contents of the mixing glass back into the rocks glass and serve.

*Dale DeGroff original

As a leading authority and popular personality in the beverage world, Master Mixologist Dale DeGroff appears regularly in the press and on television. He is the author of “The Craft of the Cocktail” (Clarkson Potter). He offers “bartender boot camps” at bars in Manhattan and lectures throughout the U.S. and Europe. DeGroff is also the spokesperson for the Distilled Spirits Council in the United States. (more info at www.Kingcocktail.com)

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