Here comes Brazil!
I just got my hands on Leblon`s new aÃ§ai liqueur…
AÃ§ai is a new macerated fruit liqueur made by Maison Leblon and is made from Zambazon aÃ§ai berries from the Amazon region in Brazil. Straight from the rainforest, exotic and purple – yeah…this really speaks to me.
I “sort of” knew what aÃ§ai berriers were ( i have heard about them in the context of heatlh) but i didn`t reallyÂ know what they were and as usual when i get a sample of something new i start doing my reserach – so what exactly is aÃ§ai berries?
The word aÃ§ai – means “the berry that cries” – they are glossy blue and purple berries from Brazil contaning LOADS of antioxidants. The berries are the fruits of a palm tree thatÂ grows slowly under the humid and shady rainforest canopy in South and Central America and take 4-5 years before producing fruit.
The berryÂ has a rich flavor similar to cherry with a hint of chocolate. The liqueur Cedilla is made with handpickedÂ Zambazon aÃ§ai berries and ZambazonÂ means that they areÂ certified organic & fair trade.
The berries are macerated and blended with the highest quality alambique CachaÃ§a from the Maison Leblon in Patos de Minas, Brazil. And what you get is a rich fruity flavor with complex chocolate, spice, and berry notes. It`s bottled at ABV 25%.
Sounds good? well, it does to me….I was actually quite curious about the flavor of this product and disappointed i was not – instead i was rather surprised. ItÂ´s really yummy – fruity, complex, distinct and very much reminding of a finer ruby port.
ThereÂ´s great ways to use it too, it goes down nicely neat of course but my main interest is to use it in mixed drinks.
Usually a good rule of thumb when it comes to local products is that they most often goes best together with other products from the same area or climate. So i went and searched for Brazilian recipes to either use as is or tweak a little bit to create something new.
But you also need to step outside the boundaries sometimes how else shall you discover something different and exciting? and to me – of course you can use this in tiki drinks too – you can use it in everything – despite that not being very Brazilian…but believe me i`m gonna try that too.
But the first drink that comes to mind when thinking about Brazil just has to be the caipirinha and mixed withÂ cachaÃ§a, sugar and lime how can it be anything but glorious?
2 ozÂ Leblon CachaÃ§a
1 oz Cedilla
Â½ oz sugarcane syrup or 1-2 tsp fine sugar
6 lime wedges cut in quarters (1 large lime)
Muddle the limes and fine sugar or sugarcane syrup in a mixing glass. Add Cedilla and Leblon CachaÃ§a. Fill with ice, shake well and pour all into a rocks glass. Garnish with a lime wedge.
And hereÂ´s another recipe i found over at Leblon:
2 ozÂ Leblon CachaÃ§a
1 oz Cedilla
Â½ oz fresh lime juice
Â½ oz ginger liqueur (i used Domaine de Canton)
2 oz pineapple juice
Dash of angostura bitters
Combine all ingredients in shaker and shake vigorously with ice. Strain into a highball or other glass filled with cracked ice, and garnish with a pineapple slice.
Oh this is yummy…this cocktail has a quite mature taste, itÂ´s semi-sweet and there`s lots of “port” flavor in it from the Cedilla but also somehow the ginger flavor marries into it and makes the impression stronger.
An interesting variety would be to muddle fresh ginger into this instead of the liqueur.
This is a sip and savor kinda cocktail.
And now itÂ´s time for a tiki drink as well and since Cedilla has a taste of a light ruby port i think it would be interesting to make a twist of Martin CateÂ´s “Dead Reckoning” and switch the tawny port for Cedilla and the rum for aged cachaca and a high proof dark rum with attitude like Smith and Cross. And finally switch the angostura bitters for one – just one dash of Mozart chocolate bitters….
Brazilian Dead Reckoning
1 oz fresh lemon juice
1 oz unsweetened pineapple juice
0.5 oz Navan vanilla liqueur
0.5 oz Cedilla
0.5 oz sugarcane syrup
1 oz Leblon Reserva aged cachaca
1 oz Smith & Cross Jamaican rum
1 dash chocolate bitters (Mozart)
1 oz soda water
Well well well…..this was a DRINK!! very strong, very spicy…with that hint of chocolate…just the way i like it! when the ice dilutes it just a little bit it becomes perfect!
I have to say that Cedilla acai liqueur is a very good liqueur indeed…and you can do a lot with it – it fits in most styles of cocktails – go get it!
I donÂ´t know where itÂ´s sold right now outside of Brazil or if it even is but you may contact Leblon to find out.
I really like the Cedilla! itÂ´s tasty, versatile, exotic and warm!
On a sidenote – the word Cedilla is from theÂ Old SpanishÂ name for the letter,Â cedaÂ (zeta) AÂ cedilla -Â also known asÂ cedilhaÂ orÂ cÃ©dille, is a hook (Â Â¸Â ) added under certain letters as aÂ accent markÂ to modify their pronunciation. In this case it becomes a “soft” c.
Pictures of acai berries at the plantation are courtesy the House of Leblon.