August 21, 2006

Leblon Cachaca Arrives for Review

Leblon Cachaca BottleWe've been drinking so much Cachaca lately we're thinking we might turn Brazilian. In fact, we wouldn't be surprised if we woke up one morning speaking Portuguese with that extra-shorn feeling in our bathing suit area, but that's beside the point. We've heard some pretty good things about Leblon Cachaca, but we haven't tried it yet. Luckily, we just got our hands on a cute little bottle of the stuff and we'll be reviewing it as soon as we can.

See below for some quick info from

Made in Brazil from the first pressing of fresh sugar cane for a lively fruity nose. Then lightly aged in cognac casks in France for an ultra smooth taste.

Leblon Cachaca is the perfect mixer for any cocktail, from the Caipirinha, the national drink of Brazil, to twists on classics like the margarita or cosmopolitan.

We'll let you know what we think; plus, keep an eye out for our head-to-head comparison of Leblon with other Cachacas we've tried.

Jake Jamieson at Permalink | Comments (1) | social bookmarking

July 31, 2006

Cabana Cachaca is Coming to America

Cabana CachacaWe're hearing more and more about cachaca, and while we've only tried a few kinds we're kind of digging it. First of all, you get to make caipirinhas, which much like Capoeira, totally kick ass. Second of all...well, there really doesn't need to be a second of all because of the whole caipirinha thing. We'll be reviewing Mae de Ouro cachaca this week and we just stumbled across a press release for another kind we'd never heard of...Cabana Cachaca.

They're touting the whole double-distilled thing to move their cachaca out of its historical realm of peasant drink, and it sounds pretty interesting. Each cachaca we've tried has been very different even though they're all made from pressed sugarcane, and we've found recipes where it can stand in for vodka, rum or even tequila if you get sick of caipirinhas, which we don't foresee. This stuff's a little more spendy than we typically see at $35 for 750ml (we're usually seeing more like $20-$25 for a liter), so it'll be interesting to see what you get for the bucks.

Read on for their full press release.

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July 27, 2006

Fazenda Mae de Ouro Cachaca Review

Fazenda Mae de Ouro Cachaca
Sugar Cane Liquor Imported from Brazil
80 Proof (40% ABV)
Typical Price: Around $25 for 1L

CaipirinhaEverybody's talking about mojitos these days, but for our money the caipirinha is the way to go. Maybe it's our anti-trendy inclinations, or maybe it's a backlash against those annoying-ass Bacardi ads. We're not sure what it is but when we want a sugar-based liquor mixed with limes, we reach for the cachaca instead of the rum.

Fazenda Mae de Ouro is the latest on our list of usual suspects. It's made in pot stills using a 400 year old process, it's filtered three times and laid down in white oak barrels for a couple years before it's bottled. Sounds more like the process for making a fine whiskey than whipping up the white lightning we'd been lead to believe was cachaca. But does all that extra time in the creation process make Mae de Ouro worth yours? Read on to find out.

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July 23, 2006

Mae de Ouro Cachaca Arrives for Review

Mae de Ouro CachacaAfter our recent discovery of Cachaca we became complete caipirinha enthusiasts. In fact, it's possible that our bodies are now 90% lime, sugar and cachaca because hey - who needs water? We've gotten in a full liter bottle of Mae de Ouro Cachaca, so we'll be putting it through the wringer to see how it stands up.

We haven't tried it yet, but here's what the Mae de Ouro site has to say:

Fazenda Mae de Ouro when translated into English literally means "The Mother of Gold Farm". Surrounded by rolling green hills our fields are a sea of tall green sugarcane, irrigated by water from the lake and the gentle tropical rains. As the sun sets over the waters, from a distance the fields look as if they are made of gold, giving us our name.

But we named it our farm not only for the beauty and the golden sunsets but also because we have tremendous respect for Mother Earth and our workers who produce our golden distillation.

Oh, and if you're itching to get your hands on a little bit of caipirinha goodness before we lay the review on you, check out the CSU (Caipirinha State University) site for directions on how to make a caipirinha.

Jake Jamieson at Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

May 13, 2006

Sambala Caipirinha Liqueur Review

Sambala Caipirinha Liqueur
Brazilian Rum and Lemon Flavored Alcopop
About 11 Proof (5.6% ABV)

Sambala CaipirinhaFor those not in the know, a caipirinha is a Brazilian cocktail typically made from Cachaca, limes, sugar, and ice. Sambala is a RTD (Ready to Drink) caipirinha cocktail, similar to something like a Smirnoff Ice or Bacardi Silver, but since it's made outside of the country, they can actually use real liquor instead of flavoring a "malt beverage." This drink is Rum-based instead of being made with Cachaca, but the use of real rum gives it at least a shot of tasting like the real drink. We don't know many details about this stuff since most of the info we can find isn't in English, but we gave it a taste and put together a few thoughts for you.

The Color: Mellow Yellow
We've usually heard of Cachaca being made with limes, but this drink is lemon-based. When poured in a glass, the look is cloudy and almost milky - it almost looks like a pale-colored lemonade.

The Nose: When Life Gives You Lemons...
...put them in a cocktail. Sambala smelled tart yet sweet, with an overwhelming waft of lemons on the nose. We didn't detect any rum smell at all, and it smelled about how we remember the smell of Mike's Hard Lemonade.

The Taste:Sweeeeeet
The first thing we thought of when we took a sip that this stuff is thick. That's the only way we can describe it. We took a sip and it coated our tongues with a syrupy, tart sweetness that was surprising at first. Sambala was actually a fair amount sweeter than the smell indicated, which isn't shocking since a major ingredient is sugar cane, and we tasted a hint of rum on the back end, but nothing overwhelming. This stuff is meant to be drunk ice cold, and we even liked it on the rocks to help thin it out a bit. We liked the lemon taste, and we're no experts, but for some reason it didn't seem quite right to have a caipirinha with anything other than limes.

The Verdict: Give it a Shot
Sambala was a bit too sweet for us, but we're not big alcopop drinkers either. If you're an RTD fan, this is something you'll probably want to give a try if you happen across it. Even if you're not a big RTD drinker, don't knock it until you try it. And hell, if you like it, pick up a bottle of Cachaca and whip up a caipirinha recipe of your own.

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April 10, 2006

Cachaca - Not Just For Peasants Anymore

Cachaca Bottle and GlassThe first time someone mentioned Cachaca to us, we wanted to say "Gesundheit." It turns out they weren't sneezing, however - they were telling us about a rum-like Brazilian spirit that's starting to appear in bars and liquor stores all over the country. Who knew?

Cachaca (kah-SHAH-sah) is a colorless liquor made from sugar cane juice. Regulators in the United States would call it a rum, which is defined here as any spirit distilled to less than 95 percent alcohol made from molasses, sugar cane juice or sugar cane syrup.

In fact, the drink we consider rum is made from molasses and has a higher proof than cachaca, says Ed Hamilton, an importer, author and proprietor of the Ministry of Rum Web site (

Cachaca traditionally "has been considered a cheap peasants' drink," Hamilton said by phone last week, several days after the International Cane Spirits Festival Tasting Competition in Tampa. "A lot of it isn't wonderful." Can You Say Cachaca?

Sounds like South American moonshine to us, and after a ringing endorsement like that, of course we ran out and got ourselves a bottle - the review will be posted soon. If you end up with a bottle of the stuff, you should know it's not traditionally drunk straight - it's usually used to make the caipirinha (kye-pee-REEN-yah), where it's mixed with a pantload of sugar and fresh lime juice to make a drink somewhat similar to a Mojito without mint. You can check out a typical recipe at Maria Brazil, and if you don't have any cachaca on hand, go ahead and make one with rum or vodka.

Jake Jamieson at Permalink | Comments (12) | social bookmarking

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