Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Cachaça Gets Some Respect

The gastronomic history of cachaça, Brazil's national distilled drink, in many ways resembles that of Italy's grappa. Both were originally made from the left-over scraps of the production of another product - in the case of grappa, it was made from the left over seeds, stems and skins of wine production, in in the case of cachaça, it was a by-product of the production of sugar from sugar cane. Both products were, at least in their original incarnations, cheap and relatively nasty. They were harsh, strongly alcoholic, and were considered the drink of the laboring classes. Aristocratic 19th-century Italians wouldn't even think of drinking grappa and the colonels who ran Brazilian sugar plantations like miniature dukedoms preferred a glass of imported Port after dinner to a shot of cachaça.

In recent years, though, both drinks have undergone a Hans Christian Anderson change from ugly duckling to majestic swan. As part of the world-wide trend to appreciating local and traditional products, and valorizing artisanal production, distillers in Italy and Brazil have dramatically improved the quality of the product they make, have begun to employ skillful marketing techniques to inform and educate the public about their liquors, and have successfully increased both the price they are able to charge for their product and the size of their markets enormously. In both cases, there have been dramatic increases in the export market for their products, a market that simply didn't exist in earlier days. Today high-end, artisanally-produced Italian grappas in elegant ultra-modern crystal bottles sell for hundreds of euros and are appreciated by connaisseurs around the world. Brazilian cachaça is undergoing a similar metamorphosis and every year there are better, more interesting and more expensive cachaças entering the market.

Recently, in a seminar at one of the world's largest and most prestigious food congresses, Semana Mesa SP, held in São Paulo, Leandro Batista, barman at São Paulo's well-known Mocotó restaurant, introduced the audience to some artisanal Brazilian cachaças that he thought worthy of respect as high-quality, truly local distillations. They were his choices for cachaças to be sipped after dinner, as one might do with a fine Armagnac or Eau de Vie. These are not the cachaça one would use to make a caipirinha. They are to be savored and contemplated carefully to fully appreciate their unique qualities.

Here is Sr. Batista's list:

Mato Dentro Cachaça - São Luíz de Paraitinga, São Paulo
Aged for six months in amendoim (Peltophorum dubium) wood

Serra Limpa Organic Cachaça  - Duas Estradas, Paraíba 
 Aged for six months in Ecuador laurel (Cordia alliodora) wood

Weber Haus  Cachaça  - Ivoti, Rio Grande do Sul
Aged for one year in amburana (Amburana cearensis) wood

Canarinha Cachaça - Salinas, Minas Gerais
Aged for three years in cabriúva-do-campo (Myrocarpus fastigiatus) wood

Germana Heritage Cachaça -  Nova União, Minas Gerais
Aged for eight years in oak, followed by two more in cabriúva-do-campo (Myrocarpus fastigiatus) wood

Dona Beja Cachaça  - Araxá, Minas Gerais
Aged for eight years in oak

None of these cachaças are cheap - they are not the USD $3.00/quart cachaça that you find in your local supermarket. Some are very limited in production and hence in availability. Exports for most of these producers are something to consider in the future after the national market has been developed. But they are names to remember if you're in a good, high-quality bar or restaurant in Brazil. Talk to the barman or sommelier, they might just have one or two available. And you might just have a big surprise when you find out just how good they are.


  1. Argh! I want to try all of these! I'm intrigued by the different woods. Of course I have heard of oak barrels and casks, but the others? I wonder how they effect the flavours. I will have to conduct some very thorough research I think ;)

  2. Let me know the results of your scientific research, Tom. I'm curious too - especially the one that says that it's aged in peanut wood. That one intrigues me, because as far as I know peanuts don't grow on trees. But the Portuguese word they used is "amendoim" which means peanut as far as I know.

  3. Tom - After posting my comments above, I did a bit more research on the woods mentioned in the post. It turns out, according to my dictionary Houaiss, that in Minas Gerais they call a certain tree "amendoim" as well as calling peanuts by the same name. I've changed the post from peanut to amendoim, and added the binomial name of the tree. I've also added binomial info for a few of the other woods mentioned. This was you can know exactly what wood your cachaça was aged in when you do your "scientific" tastings.

  4. Ha ha! Nice one James. I actually feel a little obligated to be genuinely scientific in my 'research' now that you've gone to the trouble of listing the Latin names! Hmmm, maybe I'll jot down a few notes on my next tasting session ;)

  5. Nếu bạn muốn là da trắng thì phải làm sao ? Có nhiều cách http://trangdahieuqua.tumblr.com/ như dùng các loại sản phẩm giúp làm trắng da . Các bệnh xương khớp là nỗi lo của nhiều người http://benhxuongkhop.tumblr.com/ sẽ làm giảm khá nặng hoạt động và gây khó khăn cho sinh hoạt hằng ngày. Có nhiều cách tăng cường sức khỏe như tập thể dục, ăn uống điều độ http://tangcuongsuckhoe.tumblr.com/ ngoài ra việc https://lamsaomatgangiaidoc.wordpress.com/ cũng là vấn để đáng nói, giải độc gan sẽ giúp gơn thể ko còn độc tố . Ngoài ra kết hợp với collagen để cho làn da đẹp hơn https://collagenaz.wordpress.com/ . Vậy làm sao giảm cân https://lamsaogiamcan.wordpress.com/ , hãy tập luyện khoa học và điều đặng sẽ thành công . Tai mụi họng có nhiều vấn để để nói https://dieutritaimuihong.wordpress.com/ ,đến bệnh viện tai mụi họng là điều tốt và bệnh https://benhverangmieng.wordpress.com/ răng miệng cũng nên đến bệnh viện thăm khám sẽ tốt hơn. Mất ngủ phải làm sao ? https://lamsaotrimatngu.wordpress.com/ có nhiều cách trị như dùng thuốc ,ăn uống ,...Dưỡng da chống nắng như thế nào hiệu quả và an toàn http://duongdachongnang.tumblr.com/ đó là câu hỏi mà hầu như ai cũng hỏi qua. Để trị thâm nách phải làm sao?http://trithamnach.tumblr.com/ dể ẹc , dùng sản phẩm trị thâm nach1trong thời gian ngắn sẽ có được hiệu quả ngay.

  6. I have seen that every person wants to express their feelings but they are not able to express their feelings properly in words but the content you have written in your post is very beautiful, it seems that you have expressed your feelings Has expressed. Hi, you are a person who writes a very beautiful post, in the same way, you keep writing new posts in your life, our best wishes are with you.
    Your Partner
    gurugram independent call girls
    Call Girls In Sector 44
    Call Girl gurugram
    gurugram model service
    Your heart breaks
    Mistakes Happen
    Sexual intercourse
    Noida Escorts
    escort service gurugram

  7. The nice application for
    all free feature like unlimited money and safe and free download purchased free. thank you!