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bars � drink
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
WHERE TO DRINK CACHAÇA
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
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