Saturday, May 25, 2013

Leblon Cachaça

I saw that Union Square Wines was doing a tasting with Leblon Cachaça this past Saturday in the hours before I had to be at work and since I am doing my walking regiment again, I decided to swing by there on my way to walking from Union Square to work.

For those of you who might not be familiar with Cachaca, here is how the website for Leblon describes it:
Welcome to Leblon Cachaça. We created Leblon Cachaça for anyone who wants to discover this great new spirit at its best. Cachaça, the third most-consumed spirit in the world,is the key ingredient to the Caipirinha, Brazil’s national drink. Cachaça (ka-SHAH-sa) is made from fresh-pressed cane juice fermented and distilled, and can only come from Brazil.
The representatives for Leblon Cachaça had three different spirits they were showcasing. One was the flagship Leblon Cachaça that they were serving in the classic Brazilian cocktail known as the Caipirinha. The second was a darker Cachaça that is aged in oak casks for a period of about two years called Maison Leblon - Reserva Especial. The third was called Cedilla Açai Liqueur. For sake of sobriety, I only sampled the Leblon Cachaça Caipirinha and the Maison Leblon - Reserva Especial. I'll talk about the Reserva Especial first then the Caipirinha.

The Reserva Especial is a darker spirit than the clear Cachaça. This is due to its being aged for a up to two years in French oak casks. According to the Leblon webiste:
The new Leblon product combines the flavor of the best tasting cane with the aroma and quality of the finest French oak.  Tastes great neat or over ice. This special distillate is aged up to two years in the highest grade new Limousin French oak and expertly blended by Distiller Gilles Merlet. Single batch distilled in alambique potstills, the result is a complex smooth spirit with notes of honey, caramel, and pine nuts.
It has the consistency of a Cognac or Brandy without it being very strong. The spirit was surprisingly smooth and not as sweet as I thought it would be. It was quite delicious.

Next came the Caipirinha. Now I have had a couple of Caipirinhas before. The problem with them is that if they are made wrong, it can be a difficult cocktail to drink. Too much sugar makes it too sweet. Not enough sugar and it is too tart. It is quite easy to make so its surprising that someone would get it wrong. Here is the recipe for
The Leblon Caipirinha
2 oz. Leblon Cachaça
2 tsp. superfine sugar or 1 oz. simple syrup
1/2 lime, cut into wedges

Muddle the lime and sugar in a shaker. Fill the shaker with ice and add Leblon Cachaça. Shake vigorously and serve in a rocks glass. Garnish with a lime wheel.
The Caipirinha that was served to me was perfect. Not too sweet and not too tart. It was very light and balanced. Since it sat in a pitcher with the limes included, the cocktail had little pieces of lime which gave it a little body. I liked it so much I bought myself a bottle to make some Caipirinha's this summer. I'll let you know how they turn out.

Here are two videos on how to make a Caipirinha. One is from Leblon (BTW, I think the woman in the video was the one of the representatives from Leblon at the tasting). The other is from The difference in the two videos is that in the second video, the presenter cuts the ends off of the limes, removes the pith from the middle of the lime, cuts them into smaller pieces and stirs it instead of shaking it as in the first video.  Enjoy.

Until Then Happy Drinking,
Sisco Vanilla