HAPPY NEW YEAR 2010!

2010-new-year-tiki-drinks

Happy 2010 folks!

Here are three New Year tiki drinks to imbibe at the end of this year (and thereafter) Thanks for reading my blog and commenting on my posts which helps keeping the blog alive.

I`m happy to now be on the right side of the year soon – now we move towards spring and summer again even though very slowly..so here its not going to get any darker but slowly lighter, but i won`t see any change until beginning of march. For the moment it gets dark around 3pm.

I hope to mix many many drinks in the year to come..

DRUNKEN MOAI

A handful fresh pineapple chunks
Dash cinnamon powder
1t liquid honey
0.5 oz fresh lime juice
2 oz aged cachaca
A little champagne to top
Garnish hibiscus sugar rim, pineapple leaves and slice.

Crush dried hibiscus flowers into a fine powder and mix with a golden fine sugar. Rim a tall glass and fill up halfway with crushed ice – carefully to not ruin the rim, Muddle pineapple, cinnamon, honey and lime in a shaker, add cachaca and ice and shake well.

Double strain into the glass, fill up with some more crushed ice and top with a little bit of champagne.

NEHE NEHE

2 oz rhum agricole blanc
0.5 oz golden raw sugar syrup
0.5 oz fresh lime juice
1 oz fresh grapefruit juice
Dash Angostura bitters
Small dash hibiscus grenadine
Garnish golden sugar rim and citrus leaves

Rim the glass with golden fine sugar and fill up halfway with crushed ice – carefully to not ruin the rim,.Shake ingredients and strain into the glass and add more crushed ice to fill  Garnish with a few citrus leaves.

THE RISING SUN

2 oz El Dorado 3 year old cask aged rum
¼ oz Mozart Dry
1 oz pineapple juice
A little champagne to top
Garnish cocoa rim and mint

Rim the glass with cocoa powder, fill up with crushed ice. Shake ingredients except the champagne and strain into the glass. Carefully add more crushed ice to fill and top with a little champagne.

Garnish with a sprig of mint.

Happy New Year and Okole Maluna!

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A Handcrafted Cachaca – Rainha das Gerais

In New Orleans  during the Tales, one of my my Brazilian friends handed me a very interesting brand of cachaca I`ve never tried before – Rainha Das Gerais. This is an artisanal cachaca distilled in alembic copper stills and aged in oak barrels for 5 years.

When I open the bottle the nose that reaches me is sweet with a hint of sugarcane and vanilla. The flavour really surprised me, its deep and rich with a sweet buttery aftertaste that is just lovely. I have only detected this kind of buttery flavour in two other spirits before – El Dorado 3 year old cask aged white rum and in Elements Eight white rum.

The texture is like velvet in your mouth. The finish is medium with sugarcane, and a hint of earth and oak. A sip of this floods you with pleasant flavours. Its balanced and delicate but with a little bit of fiery kick.

The more cachacas I try the more surprised I get as to how varied they are. So then to think that there´s about 5000 brands or more in Brazil its kinda mind boggling. I really would like to see more of them being exported. I`m especially interested in the artisanal cachacas, and I think artisanal is the way to go.

Artisanal cachacas are made with the traditional natural farming techinques without chemical spraying and buning of the sugarcane fields as well as using the natural yeasts growing on the sugar cane.

From what I hear, it seems that most part of the very good handcrafted cachacas isn’t exported outside of Brazil. This cachaca here is a small batched (only 5000 bottles a year) and its an amazingly tasty product. I wish more of these would find their way out to the world.

Rainhas das Gerais is handcrafted at a small farm and distillery in Minas Gerais. Raimundo – a chemical engineer by trade started to work producing cachaca in 2008. When Raimundo retired he decided to produce cachaca at the farm he already had as a way to keep in contact with his academic field and work as a chemical engineer.

Also having the new challenge of creating a high quality cachaca could be something that brings new ideas and more thoughts on a new rage of work. Having fun was also a big part on the project, this was the start of Rainha das Gerais.

It was first introduced to the public at the Feira cachaca (Cachaca Fair) in Belo Horizonte. Since then all the bottles carry the following sayings: ”Na terra de Grande Sertão Veredas reina a Rainha das Gerais” (in the land of Grande Sertão veredas reigns Rainha das Gerais)

This phrase make reference to the famous book “Grande sertão: Veredas” by one of the most amazing Brazilian writers, Guimarães Rosa. A good part of the book happens in the region of Brazil called Sertão (backcountry) that embraces areas including the north of Minas.

The Canavial (cane field) after the harvest.The left over ”leaves” called palha after the cut are left in the field to retain the moisture of the coming rains, prevent the growth of weed and also acts as a natural fertilizer. At the right pic is the ”Carro de boi” on the way to pick up the recently cut cane.

The sugar cane is hand selected and hand harvested. The fermentation occurs without any chemical additives and the product is distilled in a copper pot alambique The intense artisanal hand labor help creating job opportunities on the countryside. It´s a natural process of production, sustainable and ecologically correct.

The aging in oak barrels and the Mineiro (Mineiro means from Minas Gerais) style of making cachaca are the two main ingredients that give this cachaca, produced in the Sertão (backcountry) of Minas Gerais, it´s unique personality.

It´s fundamental that the cane comes from our own farm Raimundo says. Only by growing our on cane we can assure the proper care during cultivation, the harvest techniques and to ensure the perfect timing between the harvest and the pressing of the juice.

The terroir is also very important for our cachaca. The region where our farm is located has a very well defined dry season and the temperature range between days and nights during this season is quite large. This results in a sugar cane ideal for the production of a quality cachaca.

The preparation of the yeast used in the fermentation takes 7 days and goes according to the tradition of the alambiques Mineiros (old distillers from Minas). No chemical yeast or additives are used and the yeast is natural from the farms environment, meaning that it uses wild yeast for the fermentation. The fermentation of each batch takes between 24 to 36 ours, occurring the formation of secondary compounds that help to give Rainha da Gerais it´s distinct flavor.

Alambique copper pot still

The distillation using a copper pot still is a slow process, that helps in the oxidation of unwanted compounds enhancing the bouquet of the distillate.

The aging in Oak casks during 5 years develops in soft flavours and provides it´s golden color. After the aging process Raimundo samples the cachaca from every cask, and blends them to achieve and maintain the specific organoleptic properties of his cachacas prior to bottling.

To produce Rainha das Gerais. Raimundo has only 3 full time employees at the farm, during the harvest period 5 more temporary workers are hired. This results in a small production of only 5000 liters per year.

Finally the AMPAQ quality seal is attached. Ampaq stands for ”Associação Mineira de produtores de cachaça de qualidade” or Association of quality cachaça producers from Minas Gerais.

Something to be on the look for…

rainhas-ampaq-quality-seal

I love the buttery flavour and sipping it is all i`ve done with it since i opened it. But I got to find out how it mixes in a fairly simple cocktail allowing the flavour of the cachaca to dominate.

Rainha on the Rise


2 oz Cachaca

0.5 oz honey and passionfruit syrup
Small squeeze of fresh lime
Small float of Ting (Jamaican grapefruit beverage) to top
Garnish with pineapple and  lime

Dissolve the honey in passionfruit syrup by heating it up a little, then cool. Shake all ingredients except Ting, strain and serve with crushed ice. Top up with just a little bit of Ting and garnish with a pineapple leaf and slice of lime.

Cachaca and fresh fruits are really made for each other…and what Ting isn`t made for please tell me!

My impression with Rainha das Gerais is that its one of the best cachacas i´ve had so far, I love its sturdy yet smooth buttery flavour and that`s the key – it has so much flavour!

The cocktail turned out nice and fresh, perfect for a hot summer day.

Many thanks to Raimundo and Mauricio for letting me and many others sample this lovely cachaca, providing pictures and help with translation without which this post wouldn´t have been possible.

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BEIJA CACHACA

beija-bottle

Beija cachaca is a hand crafted blend of artisanal cachacas from the states of Sao Paulo and Minas Gerais. Many cachacas are today multi-distilled to become a purer product but at the same time the distillations strips away much of the flavour and characteristic earthiness that makes cachaca so lovable. Beija is made only from the first press of sugarcanes and is distilled within ten hours of pressing and then distilled only once.

The nose is very light, sweet sugarcane paired with a herbal and fruity aromatic aromas and there´s maybe even a slight smokiness here. The flavour is “light grassy” and fresh. This cachaca immediately reminds me very strongly of a good quality rhum agricole blanc and fresh cut sugarcane but with its own personlity and flavour. I think light and fresh are the best words to describe Beija. (Bey`Zha=kiss) i find it different from other cachacas i`ve tried in the terms of fresh sugarcane flavour.

Beija was founded by Kevin Beardsley and Stephen Diforio and they have managed to get a product into the market which is both versatile and mixable. The bottle design also stands up nicely against the rest. An interesting detail on the bottle is the text at the bottom “Virgin Cane Rum” i have never seen that on a cachaca bottle before. A cachaca with a “virgin cane rum” statement on the bottle? i found that fascinating.

I know that cachaca must be imported as “rum” or “Brazilian rum” in the US but i have never seen the cathegory “virgin cane rum” and “cachaca” both written on the same bottle. It turns out after some research that this cachaca has been placed into an entirely new category from the US govt for “virgin cane rum” and its the only product in this cathegory. There are attempts to have cachaca classified as cachaca in the US, let´s see what happens.

And as i just wrote – this is mixable! and very much so. I wonder when we will see this tasty cachaca in Europe?

BEIJA – HIBISCO

beija-hibisco

2 oz Beija cachaca

Juice of 1/2 lime

1 tbslp raw sugar syrup

splash hibiscus grenadine

3-4 drops hibiscus tincture

crushed ice

Shake everything except the hibiscus grenadine and serve over crushed ice, add a splash hibiscus grenadine for color and tropical zing. Add a few drops hibiscus tincture on top. This last thing is a beautiful way to garnish an exotic cocktail and this i`ve learnt from here.

The word Beija means kiss in portugese and the word Hibisco means Hibiscus and Beija Hibisco means Hibiscus kiss or kiss the Hibiscus – referring to the hummingbirds which look like they almost kiss the flowers when they collect their nectar. The word Beija-Flor means hummingbird in portugese but the word flor by itself means flower.

I thought the name was fitting as the nectar is the Beija and the Hibiscus flowers in the form of tincture and grenadine is present and the hummingbirds are we the drinkers!

beija-close

http://www.beija.net/

 

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Cachaca – Abelha Silver

 

From Bahia it hails – Abelha organic cachaca. I can easily say that this is the best cachaca i`ve had so far, its insanely good – so flavourful and tasty! I was actually surprised it was so good even though I expected it to be good. Up in Bahia is a farmers collective where they grow 100% organic sugar and that`s where Abelha starts its life. Its distilled in small batches in traditional copper stills.

Abelha is a small batch organic cachaca which means that no chemical products are used and the fermentation yeasts that are used are also cultured from the natural yeasts which grow on green sugar cane. Moreover the sugar cane isn´t burnt because for a cane to qualify as organic it must not be burnt prior to harvest. This is a very good thing as the air pollution from burning sugar cane fields is a huge problem.

Abelha produces two cachacas – Abelha Cachaca Silver which is the one i have tried and its a premium hand-crafted white, or rested (descansada) cachaca, with a clean flavour.

The other is the Abelha Gold which is s aged for 3 years in small 250L garapeira wooden barrels – the wood imparting a beautiful mellow tone to the cachaca resulting in a typical for the aging process a- full-flavoured, well-balanced cachaca. This one I haven´t tried yet but I bet its just as nice.

Abelha cachaca is certified by the IBD in Brasil, and the UK import is certified organic by the Organic Farmers and Growers.

So what about the flavour? as I said I tried the white cachaca and its really really nice  – with a hint of honey,  sugarcane and grass. A hint of the typical earthy flavour is there as well to remind you that this is cachaca. I can safely say this is the best I have tasted as far as cachacas go.

During the last TDN which was called “Beat The Heat” I made a drink with Abelha which I really enjoyed and to my joy others also liked it and it won that TDN gracing me with one of Trader Tiki´s awesome syrups! his stuff is really special and so goood! and here is the recipe for the drink:

Bahia Rose (Rosa da Bahia)


2 oz Abelha Cachaca
1 oz Aperol
1 oz fresh ruby grapefruit
0.5 oz fresh lime
0.5 oz simple syrup.

Shake and pour in saucer type of glass filled with crushed ice.

Garnish with a grapefruit rose and add two straws.

Finally I have to say a word about the bottle labels, they are really nice! very rustic, colorful and crafty, made by Holly Wales and Anthony Sheret. The label actually reminds me of my fellow bloggers awesome garden.

Abelha is as far as I know only sold in London – a link is here: http://www.abelha.co.uk/where-to-buy-cachaca-abelha-in-london/

I don´t know when or if it will be sold elsewhere, I myself wouldn´t mind seeing it in sold in Sweden which is the same as hoping for Astor to fly from New York and settle in Stockholm. If you can get your hands on this cachaca you should´t hesitate to try it.

International Cachaca Day

Cachaca – made from distilled cane juice is one of my favorite spirits (after rum 🙂 then again, this is rum`s cousin and its time to celebrate the International Cachaca Day!

International Cachaça Day was started by Sociedade Brasileira da Cachaça, a Brasilian government organization. It was created to commemorate June 12th, 1744: the day when Portugal, then the colonial authority in Brasil, outlawed the production and selling of cachaça.

Cachaca is most commonly used in the all popular caipirinha but also the batida is a refreshing drink and very common too.

Batidas (pronounced ba-chi-da) means “shaken” or “milkshake.” in Portugese. Its cachaca cocktails made with fruit juice or pureed fruit, usually with sugar added. Milk or sweetened condensed milk are also commonly used.

How thick you want it its really up to you, just add more juice if it gets too slushy.

Mango Cardamom Batida

In blender:

2 oz cachaca

3-4 slices of mango

0.5 oz fresh lime juice

Dash cardamom bitters (or use other bitters – then call it just mango batida)

1 oz sweet condensed milk

1 cup crushed ice

Garnish mango slices and mint

Strawberry  Mint Batida

In blender:

2 oz cachaca

3-4 strawberries

0.5 oz fresh lime juice

1 oz sweet condensed milk

2-3 mint leaves

1 cup crushed ice

Garnish fresh mint

So mix up your caipirinhas and batidas and everything else Cachaca.

Rio

2 oz cachaca
1 oz fresh blood orange juice
0.5 oz orgeat
0.5 oz fresh lime juice
3 slices fresh ginger
Ginger ale to top

Muddle the ginger slices with lime juice and orgeat in shaker. Add cachaca. Shake over ice and strain into a rocks glass filled with crushed ice. Top with a splash Ginger Ale.

Garnish blood orange wedges and mint.

Salud!

 

Delicana Cachaca

delicana-artisanal-cachacas

Delicana Cachaça is an artisanal cachaca and pure natural product without chemical additives, produced in Minas Gerais and comes in four different expressions: (silver, gold, premium and cinnamon- orange liqueur/ spiced) They are sold in 1 litre bottles. All artisanal cachaca uses cold-pressed sugarcane.

In front of me I have samples of 3 of the cachacas, the silver, gold and the cinnamon-orange liqueur cachaca. The last one I was especailly curious about as its the first spiced cachaca I try and I was very pleasantly surprised. It has nice and natural cinnamon/orange flavor and I believe this one will be very nice as a cocktail ingredient. The bottle has a nice colorful label and its made from 100% natural ingredients.

The silver cachaca is stored several months in jequitiba barrels and its pleasantly mild and flavorful. The gold cachaca is stored in oak barrels and has a more sturdy flavor with more bite as well. It has a vanilla tone and the color is beautifully golden, this one is also very mild. Both the silver and the gold cachacas are 38% ABV or 76 proof.

The natural cocktail for cachaca is fresh and fruity, like the caipirinhas or batidas. I love these fresh fruity cocktails and inspired by the mouth watering L-Stop caipirinha at Cachacagora I decided to mix up a similar drink with the Delicana cachacas paired with 2 of Bob´s bitters.

The Golden Spiced Caipirinha


1/2 lime, end cut off and split into four equal pieces.

Juice of 1/2 a lime

1 ounce of  Lime Sugar (recipe below)

1.5 oz Delicana Gold cachaca

0.75 oz Delicana spiced orange liqueur-cinnamon cachaca

Top with Ting (or other grapefruit soda)

2 dashes grapefruit bitters (I used Bob´s)

Rim the glass with lime  sugar. I made my lime sugar a bit differently and zested one lime and mixed with fine raw canesugar.

Then cut the ends of 1/2 lime and quarter it, add to glass. Add 1 oz fine raw sugar. Muddle and add cachaca, spiced cachaca and bitters. Add crushed ice, stir. Top with a little Ting and add more crushed ice to fill and garnish with a lime wedge and some sprinkled lime-sugar on top.

This drink is so fresh that my brain zings! and there`s a pleasant cinnamon aftertaste.


After this drink I tried the silver cachaca and made a tiki style batida. I haven`t yet seen any cachaca in a tikidrink so I think its about time.

PineappleTiki Batida

I was first going to make a regular batida and then I got to think about that pineapple I had lying about in the kitchen. It had a top that was small and fun looking, and would make a fun garnish. A pineapple top garnish naturally fits a tiki drink and it was then I got the idea to marry the batida with the tiki and thus it became a tiki style batida.


4-6 pineapple chunks from a just matured (not so sweet) pineapple

1 barspoon limesugar

1 barspoon vanilla-orgeat

sprinkle of fresh lime juice

2.5 oz delicana silver cachaca

0.5 oz sweet condensed milk

Dash Bob`s licorice bitters (or other bitters)

Muddle pineapple chunks, sugar and orgeat in shaker, add bitters, sprinkle of lime juice, sweetmilk and cachaca. Shake and strain ( double strain if needed) into a large glass filled with ice. Pour into a large ice filled glass and garnish with a whole (small) pineapple top.

My overall impression with Delicana cachaca is good,  I especially like the gold and I`m intrigued by the orange liqueur – cinnamon spiced, it will be very fun to mix drinks with.

Sugarcane bar