Page 0096

94 | squaremeal.co.uk

bars � drink

F

rom Brahma beer to Neymar's

on-pitch prowess, we've gone a

bit weak at the knees for all things

Brazilian of late - particularly for the

country's national spirit, cachaça. Also

known as 'chest-burster', 'crazy syrup'

and the more charming 'earth Champagne' -

just three of its 2,000 nicknames - cachaça is

a style of rum that can only be made in Brazil,

and is deeply embedded in local culture.

More than one billion litres of the stu„ is

guzzled in Brazil every year, usually straight

up as a sipper or served in the signature

Caipirinha cocktail. 'Cachaça in Brazil is like

Tequila in Mexico,' says Steve Luttmann,

founder of Leblon cachaça. 'And the

Caipirinha is ubiquitous as the number

one cocktail in the country.'

Age diff erence

Distilled from the fermented juice of sugar

cane, the sweet yet ‰ ery spirit has undergone

a transformation of late, and now has more

of an artisanal reputation. It's produced in

two varieties: white, which is unaged; and

gold, aged in oak barrels for up to three years,

although some are matured for as long as

15 years. 'The di„ erence between the two is

exactly like that between a white and an aged

rum,' explains Lizzy Barber, co-author of The

Cabana Cookbook. 'White cachaça has a raw

taste, whereas the aged ones are much more

mellow and complex and have more vanilla

and cinnamon “ avours from the barrel.'

Aside from the ageing, the main di„ erence

between cachaças is the distillation

technique. Some cheaper products use an

industrial, continuous distillation method

that generates an undesirable, petrol-like

“ avour, while others - such as Leblon,

Abelha, Sagatiba and Germana - opt for

more artisanal production in 'alambique'

pot stills used by the Cognac and whisky

industries. Here, the master distiller has more

control over the spirit and is able to isolate

and discard its harsh, unre‰ ned qualities,

leaving behind the earthy, vegetal and

tropical fruit “ avours inherent to cachaça.

It's these vibrant, fresh notes that make

cachaça such a good partner to fruit. Aside

from the Caipirinha, the popular cocktails

featuring cachaça include the Capeta

(Portuguese for 'little devil'), which features

guarana, condensed milk and Nesquik, and

the Batida (meaning 'shaken'), a blend of fruit

juice or coconut cream and lots of crushed

ice. The most popular varieties include

cashew juice (Batida de Caju) or coconut milk

(Batida de Coco), but to really discover the

spirit's sweet, earthy “ avours, sip it neat from

shot glasses as you would a good Tequila.

The 2014 World Cup may last for just four

weeks, but Brazil's infectious spirit - both its

culture and cachaça - is here to stay.

All eyes are on Brazil this

summer thanks to the

World Cup, so what

better way to get in the

mood than a toast with

the national tipple?

WORDS BECKY PASKINLATIN

spirit

WHERE TO DRINK CACHAÇA

FLORIPA

Tucked away o„ Old Street roundabout

is a lively venue where you can drink and

dance 'til you drop, complete with palm

trees, live salsa and plenty of cachaça

cocktails. Shoreditch meets Brazil here, and

the bar team, led by Matteo Sgrignoli, have

designed a range of colourful signature

drinks to keep the party going all night.

91-93 Great Eastern Street, EC2A 3HZ

CABANA

The team behind Hush and Villandry couldn't

inject any more Brazilian “ air into its ‰ ve

easy-going restaurants, which now feature

an entire menu dedicated to its national

spirit. Go naked with the cachaça tasting

“ ight or indulge in the Strawberry Batida.

Covent Garden, Islington, Wembley, West eld

London, West eld Stratford

MADE IN BRASIL

Head to Camden for this vibrant, “ amboyant

Brazilian Mecca that boasts a list of 350

cachaças - one of the largest menus in

Europe. Visitors are de‰ nitely spoilt for choice

here, with an exhaustive list of cocktails,

including 12 di„ erent Caipirinhas.

12 Inverness Street, NW1 7HJ

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