With the 2016 Olympic Games winding down in Rio, there’s no better time than now to be raising a glass of cachaça. Aromatic, highly mixable, often overlooked, and definitely tricky to say (try it 10 times fast), Brazil’s national spirit has been showing up more and more around menus in a handful of forms that go far beyond the caipirinha, from the frozen, to the floral-driven. Here are five variations to try now.
THE LOTUS EATER at BOILERMAKER
Cachaça gets an ice cold makeover at this retro-inspired bar, where bartender Samuel Gauthier combines the Brazilian booze with Cognac, orange juice, and housemade cinnamon syrup. The ingredients are blended together with ice on high speed before filling a tall glass and getting topped off with a different kind of buzz inducer: a half-ounce of cold brew coffee concentrate.
THE SOHO SMASH at OSTERIA MORINI
The bar team at this Italian eatery found vodka to be a perfect pairing with cachaça, and that ginger’s sweet heat only helped to elevate the spirit’s vibrant qualities. After muddling cucumber, they add in lemon juice, ginger syrup, and equal parts Leblon Cachaca and Stoli vodka for a shaken and strained — and highly refreshing — pint glass.
THE AMBURANA GOLD, PRATA SILVER, and OAK BRONZE at JIMMY AT THE JAMES
In honor of this year’s Olympic Games, owner and mixologist Johnny Swet created three cachaça-laced libations to enjoy poolside at this Soho rooftop bar: the Amburana Gold (Avuá Amburana Cachaça, mango puree, fresh lime juice and turmeric agave), the Prata Silver (Avuá Prata Cachaça, Cointreau, fresh lemon juice, agave nectar, and lavender bitters) and the Oak Bronze (Avuá Oak Cachaça, banana and lime puree, and chocolate bitters).
THE PRATA PUNCH at MAISON PREMIERE
Summer reigns in this offering from Maison Premiere bartender Anthony Bohlinger, who combines Avuá Prata Cachaça with strawberry purée, rum, lemon juice, sparkling wine, and violet syrup for a floral-inspired and effervescent showcasing of the bright spirit.
THE PINOY at LOT 45
In true Olympian spirit, bartender Rael Petit found inspiration not only in Brazil’s most beloved sipper, but in flavors spanning the globe, too, from brown sugar banana syrup to calamansi juice. Garnished with pineapple leaves and Angostura bitters in a tall glass, this one is as eye-catching as it is crowd pleasing.
By Nicole Schnitzler
(Photos from left: The Pinoy at Lot 45 by Real Petit; The Prata Punch at Maison Premiere by Anthony Bohlinger; The Lotus Eater at Boilermaker by Paul Wagtouicz)