Cachaça is a criminally underrated Brazilian spirit, with most bars and restaurants stocking it out of curiosity, rather than intent. The cachaça based Caipirinha is probably the most well-known signature serve from the category, with many venues pushing flavoured variations to their customers as if the fruit were the last available.

But what about just taking a seat and enjoying the spirit for what it is? Capturing a country within its reasoning, much the same way we look at whisky from Scotland, tequila from Mexico or Armagnac from France.

With this mindset, lets take a look at Zeca, new to the UK market and recently launched into the likes of Selfridges and Harvey Nichols.

Hailing from the apparent lush green mountains of Brazil’s hidden Zona Da Mata, in Minas Gerais, Zeca has been hand-crafted by the Matos family estate for over 100 years, using only traditional methods. Utilising once-pressed sugar cane grown at high altitude, the juice is distilled in old alambiques and resulting in Zeca, itself paying homage to Joseph “Zeca” de Matos, the first of the family to be born in Brazil and son of the pioneer Antonio de Matos, who moved from Portugal in 1891 to settle in the untamed region of Minas Gerais.

Created by Marcos Matos and Tony Austin, the focus is not solely on the liquid itself, but also the aesthetics of the brand, including the bottle illustration that brings to life the diversity and beautiful abundance of the Minas Gerais gem stones producing region of Zona da Mata. The blue colour apparently stands for the gem amethyst, whilst the purple celebrates the oxidised colour of the alambique copper, the most traditional cachaça distilling apparatus that they utilise.
The Tamanduá anteater is the brand’s most lively character, a natural pest control who roams the sugar cane fields at night eating the ants.

So how does it fare? Well below, I give to you my tasting notes –

Zeca – 40%

Passionfruit and dried banana peel come through on the nose, with hints of fresh sugarcane present. Damp earth blended with rich sugarcane and flesh fruit on the palate, bringing in a slight zest spice. A long finish.

A real kick of artisan Brazil, perfect to be sipped. Although they do recommend it, if you wish to have a longer serve, with fresh ginger beer or homemade lemonade. One to add to your drinks cabinet if you wish to pack a Brazilian offering to your friends and family.

© David Marsland and Drinks Enthusiast 2017. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog/sites author and owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to David Marsland and Drinks Enthusiast with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Abelha Organic Cachaça Announces Winner of Limited Edition Label

Brazilian designer and illustrator, Daniel Vincent Gomes, has won Abelha Organic Cachaça’s international competition to design a limited edition label for its Silver Cachaça! Daniel’s design will go onto an initial run of 600 bottles of Abelha Organic Cachaça – Silver which will be available from August.

The label will be officially unveiled at a celebration at Barrio Shoreditch on Tuesday 28th June where Daniel’s artwork and bottle, along with the works of another nine international artists who also entered the competition, will be exhibited.

Speaking about the competition, Daniel who is 26 and lives in Sao Paulo said: “I thought the Abelha competition was the perfect project for me. I’m a huge fan of cachaça and I love the Bahia state where Abelha is created. The climate, lifestyle, it’s vibrancy and colours are like nothing else you’ve experienced before. It’s like a state of mind.”

Inspired by the area where Abelha is made, Daniel also took inspiration musically. He said: “I define my work as musical and I seem to connect melodies to my creations. This time, I sat at my desk and listened to Dorival Caymmi, one of Bahia and Brazil’s most inspired composers and musicians and began to draw. As soon as the music flowed – so did my inspiration.”

The winning artwork was chosen by a panel of judges which included Brazilian urban artist Ananda Nahu, commissioned to design the 2015 Limited Edition Summer Label; Lívia Rezende, professor of History of Design at the Royal College of Art; Jonathan Chadwick, Illustrator, Designer and the artist responsible for creating Abelha’s label.

Joao Pinteiro, director of Abelha Organic Cachaça, said: “Daniel’s wonderfully playful label encapsulated the Bahian spirit of Abelha and although standards were high it was a clear winner across our panel. We look forward to exhibiting Daniel’s design, together with another nine entrants and celebrating in Barrio with a caipirinha! We also warmly thank all artists who took part in this great experiment.”

Abelha Organic Cachaça Launches “Abelha Art Awards – Celebrating Bahia”

Abelha - Brasilian Lady

Abelha Organic Cachaça is looking to celebrate summer 2016 with a new-look label inspired by one the most colourful, vibrant and culturally diverse states of Brazil, Bahia, where Abelha is made. In order to find the design for the label, Abelha is launching a global competition, the Abelha Art Awards – Celebrating Bahia.

The competition is open to everyone; whether they are an artist, a designer, an illustrator or a bartender. The winning label design will be on stockists’ shelves and behind bars throughout summer 2016 and the artist whose design will be chosen will also receive a prize of €2000.

The brief is simple; create a piece of artwork, preferably two-dimensional, that can be used on a bottle of Abelha Organic Cachaça. Take inspiration from any shape, form, instrument, food, landscape, people, heart, simplicity or the rural rhythm of Bahia state. To inspire even further, Abelha will be sending out samples of the cachaça to those within the Europe Union so they can experience the lush, green, fresh flavour of the cachaça.

A competition will run until 6th February where a panel of judges will choose the top ten pieces of artwork. The artworks will then be displayed in an exhibition marking the launch of the new label, which takes place in June. The chosen label design will also be unveiled at the event.

To find out more details about the competition, please click here or email artcomp@abelhacachaca.com

The Summer Label 2016 will be the second limited edition label to be produced by Abelha Organic Cachaça. Earlier this year, Abelha collaborated with Brazilian based urban artist Ananda Nahu to create the first limited edition label. Her Abelha label captures all aspects of her more large-scale works; the woman portrayed on the label excites the senses and highlights the rich history of Bahia. Playful honeybees dart amongst flowers in full bloom in a world where cachaça is a feast for both the eyes and the mouth.

Abelha Organic Cachaça is an artisanal organic cachaça hailing from the lush green hills of Bahia´s countryside, a north-eastern state in Brazil. The plantation is located in the small town of Rio de Contas, surrounded by the beautiful scenery of Chapada Diamantina National Park. Abelha has a strong commitment with organic farming practices, traditional distilling methods, fairtrade principles, simplicity and joie de vivre. Bahia is well regarded as one of the most beautiful, artistic, fun-loving and musical regions in Brazil. Launched in the UK in 2009, the brand quickly reached the premium level category due to its quality and taste. Abelha Organic Cachaça is now available at top UK bars, restaurants and retailers including Marks & Spencer and Harvey Nichols. Abelha is sold in 11 different countries

Abelha Organic Cachaca Launches Its Exclusive Summer Limited Edition Label

ananda nahu[1]



RIO DE CONTAS – BAHIA, situated on the northern region of Brazil, surrounded by the lush green canyons and waterfalls, is the home of Abelha Organic Cachaça and served as the inspiration behind its new summer limited edition bottle.  Abelha Organic Cachaça commissioned celebrated female urban artist Ananda Nahu, to design Abelha´s new label, which will be unveiled on Tuesday 16th June at Coya Restaurant. Ananda´s partnership with Abelha Cachaça will mark the start of a competition inviting bartenders, artists and members of the public to submit designs for a label for limited edition run of Abelha Organic Cachaça which will be launched before the Rio Olympic Games in 2016.

THE LABEL: Ananda Nahu is famous for her complex and colourful murals enriched with intricate patterns and featuring powerful women as centrepiece. Her Abelha label captures all aspects of her more large-scale works; the woman portrayed on the label excites the senses and highlights the rich history of Bahia. Playful honeybees dart amongst flowers in full bloom in a world where cachaça is a feast for both the eyes and the mouth.  . Nahu is one of Brazil’s top muralists, recently featured in Phaidon’s new book Brazil, an ode to the country’s contemporary culture.

Abelha Cachaça has produced a limited number of bottles showcasing Ananda’s exclusive design which will be finally unveiled on Tuesday 16th June at Coya Restaurant, from 6pm to 8pm. Gian Carlo D’Urso, Group Bars Manager for Coya has created a special drink using Abelha Organic Cachaça for the event, the Bahia Sour, which will also be available at Coya throughout June at the restaurant.

A number of these limited edition bottles will also be available for Abelha’s customers within bars and selected retailers.

Ananda Nahu said: “I created this design which was inspired by memories of my home state, Bahia, a region which is very close to my heart.  It is a land of colour and beautiful strong women, so the art pays a homage to these people and the vibrant beauty of this region.”

Abelha is an organic cachaça created using the most traditional artisanal methods from organic sugar cane grown on the sunny slopes of Bahia.  The cane is processed within 24 hours of being cut, fermented and then distilled in a traditional copper still.  Only a small fraction of the distillate is kept to ensure the highest possible quality.

Hal Stockley , Director of Abelha Cachaça said: “The Bahian style, colour and vibrancy are at the heart of Abelha and I can’t think of a better way to celebrate this than through Ananda’s artwork and label; it encapsulates it all.”

During her first visit to the UK, Ananda will produce a special commission for Vamos! Festival, in Newcastle: her first mural in the UK. She’ll also showcase some of her artworks during a special launch event at Coya Members Club, on 16th June.

ROAD TO RIO 2016: Art Competition for Abelha´s new Special Limited Edition label – Rio Olympics 2016

This is the first limited edition label commissioned by Abelha and it will mark the launch of a worldwide competition to design Abelha´s label for the 2016 Rio Olympic Games.  Email hal@abelha.co.uk to register your interest.  More details on entry criteria, prizes and open-source judging panel will be available soon.

Have A Ball With A Monks Maracana

Monks Maracana[1][9]

It’s time for the sporting event of the year, and what better way to celebrate the World Cup than with a Monks Maracana created for Bénédictine by Shaker BarSchool. Enjoy a delicious mix of both spicy yet fruity flavours, inspired by the lively and exciting lifestyle of host city of Rio de Janeiro!

Samba down to muddled limes, fresh passion fruit and the herbal notes of Bénédictine, to create a cocktail that is exciting and passionate, perfect to indulge in during the football madness.


50 ml Bénédictine
3 Lime wedges
1 large fresh ripe passion fruit
1 spoon castor sugar
Crushed or cracked ice


Lime twist and passion fruit half


12oz Rocks


Muddle limes, squeeze in passion fruit pulp, pour Bénédictine, add crushed ice, churn, top with more ice and garnish!

Leblon Brings ‘The Spirit Of Brazil’ To UK Bars And Homes This Summer

This summer, Leblon Natural Cane Cachaça, a national treasure of Brazil, is bringing a splash of South American spirit to the UK with its delicious artisanal cocktails and must-visit experiences.

Handcrafted and produced at Maison Leblon in Minas Gerais, Brazil’s fertile agricultural heartland, Leblon Cachaça is already a favourite tipple in top culinary venues in Brazil, where cachaça is the national spirit. Cachaça is also the key ingredient to the Caipirinha, the wildly popular muddled lime cocktail.

Light and fruity with tequila-like herbal notes, Leblon Cachaça has a smooth silky texture with layers of fruity cane and spices. It mixes extremely well with almost any fruit and couples nicely with other ingredients from herbs to liqueurs – the perfect starting point for a range of delicious cocktails that capture the lively Brazilian Spirit. The Leblon Cachaça signature cocktails are a must this summer for home entertaining, including the renowned Brazilian ‘Caipirinha’, the coconut ‘Sugar Loaf Mountain Cooler’ and the refreshing ‘Leblon Ginger Ale’.

For those out and about during the summer months, Leblon Cachaça has also partnered with two of London’s leading bars to create cocktail experiences that champion the ‘Spirit of Brazil’. ‘Barzinho’ has opened at Archer Street, Soho, transforming the downstairs bar into a bold and beautiful Brazilian oasis. With vintage posters, grand carnival feathers, palm leaves from the Amazon and authentic Brazilian graffiti adorning the walls, the experience will take you on a visual and sensory journey of the bright and lively country. In addition to enjoying the legendary Leblon Caipirinha, the bar’s other signature cocktail is the award-winning ‘Leblon Redeemer’, created specially by Bar Manager, Benjamin Purslow. The ‘Leblon Redeemer’ is made with Leblon Cachaça, Campari infused with Açai Berries (Goji Berries), fresh passionfruit juice and Lime.

For those south of the river, the newly opened CocoBananas in Battersea is home to the Leblon Cachaça Campervan, bringing all the spirit and passion of Brazil to London. Set over two floors, the nightclub is a celebration of all things Brazilian, with a décor evoking the vibrant beach shacks found throughout the country. Design features include vintage surfboards, palm trees, distressed plantation shutters, and an image of Rio’s iconic Christ the Redeemer Statue. To complete the authentic Brazilian experience, the Leblon Cachaça Campervan, situated on the second floor of CocoBananas, doubles up as a bar serving mouthwatering Leblon Cachaça Caipirinhas. Signature cocktails include the ‘Beach Shack’, a memorable summertime Caipirinha treat made for sharing, served in a miniature Brazilian beach hut.

Leblon Caipirinha
Leblon Caipirinha

Leblon Caipirinha

Ingredients –

60 ml Leblon Cachaça
1 whole lime
2 teaspoons of sugar
Crushed ice

Method –

Take a good size lime, cut it into eight wedges, and place four wedges in a rocks glass. Add two teaspoons of sugar, mash the lime and sugar with a muddler for fifteen seconds and add crushed ice up to the rim of the glass. Add the Leblon Cachaça and stir thoroughly. Garnish with a lime wedge.

Leblon & Ginger Ale

Ingredients –

50 ml Leblon Cachaça
Ginger Ale to finish
2 lime wedges

Method –

Add cubed ice to a highball glass and pour in the Leblon Cachaça. Squeeze the juice of two large lime wedges into the glass and top with ginger ale. Stir to mix and finish with a slice of lime.

Sugar Loaf Mountain Cooler

Ingredients – 

50 ml Leblon Cachaça
25 ml Lime Juice
15 ml Sugar Syrup
Sugarcane Water or Coconut Water to finish

Method  – 

Add cubed ice to a highball glass and pour in the Leblon Cachaça, lime juice and sugar. Top with your choice of sugarcane or coconut water and stir to mix. Garnish with a slice of lime.

Barzinho at Archer Street, 3-4 Archer Street, Soho, London W1D 7AP

CocoBananas, 101 Howie Street, London SW11 3BA

McQueen, 55-61 Tabernacle Street, London EC2A 4AA

Floripa, 91-93 Great Eastern Street, London EC2A 3HZ
http://www.leblon.com / @LeblonCachaca / http://www.facebook.com/lebloncachaca

Absolut Captures the Brazilian Spirit with a New Limited Edition – Absolut Rio

Absolut Rio

In celebration of an exciting summer of football, Absolut vodka introduces a new limited edition bottle – Absolut Rio. Absolut Rio will be available exclusively at Sainsbury’s out now (RRP £22).

To celebrate the very best of Rio de Janeiro, Absolut collaborated with the visionary Brazilian designer Oskar Metsavaht to transform the bottle by paying tribute to the essence and exceptional nature of the people of Rio de Janeiro, the ‘cariocas’.

When creating the art for the special edition bottle, Metsavaht drew his inspiration from his own photos of Ipanema and brought the essence of the city’s universe of image and iconography to the world of Absolut. These typically carioca elements sum up Rio de Janeiro: sand, the sidewalk of Ipanema and the Dois Irmãos Mountain.

With a flavor mixture that goes way beyond exceptional, the taste of Absolut Rio includes a combination of tropical fruits – orange, mango and passion fruit.

“I accepted the challenge from Absolut because I think it’s interesting to take a world icon and be able disrupt it. This is also part of the soul of Rio; ‘cariocas’ don’t understand limits. And the special edition is to pay tribute to Rio, to reveal to the world what is exceptional in this city that I admire, that I live in and that I revere”, says Oskar Metsavaht

“We’re excited to be launching Absolut Rio ahead of an exciting summer of football in Brazil. The new tropical flavor will transform the football viewing experience by bringing some of the infamous Brazilian spirit to the table. With this bottle, Absolut has immortalized the coveted ‘carioca’ lifestyle through the hands of someone who is a ‘carioca’ at heart”, says Adam Boita, Marketing Controller, Pernod Ricard UK


For information on Absolut products, please visit http://www.absolut.com



Ypioca has been a back bar favourite for most over the last decade or so. 2014 sees a resurgence due to the World Cup being held in Brazil, and Ypioca has stepped up its game and awareness. So it makes sense for me to look at a brand that I will hold me hands up, have never tried until a few weeks back.

Ypioca claims to be known as the largest producer of cachaça in Brazil, and actually creates several types including the Rum Toucano which is aged for two years in oak casks and dates back to 1846. It was in this year that Dario Telles de Menezes, began the production of Ypioca in the village of Maranguape, despite only arriving in Brazil three years prior. A family business, Dario left the business to his son, Dario Borges Telles, in 1895 and introduced bottling, compared to his fathers methods of barrel batch. At the age of 31, Dario died and his widow inherited the business and brought in the hand-made labelling and is credited for the logo design seen on the bottle today.

Her son, Paulo Campos, took over the business when he was 18, saving his mother from dividing her time between the business and family. He introduced marketing aspects to the brand, elevating cachaça to be the national drink of Brazil. He also oversaw the first exportation of Ypioca to Germany, followed by the United States and Japan. He also introduced the now familiar packaging, using carnauba straw. In 2012, Diageo saw the potential of Ypioca and cachaça, resulting in them purchasing the brand and distillery and making Ypioca one of the most recognisable brands available.

The Ypioca Prata expression that is most commonly available in the UK is a clear cachaça, but how does it fare? Well below, I give to you my tasting notes –

Ypioca Prata – 39%

Very light with a clean grass aroma dominating the nose. Smooth with a velvet texture on the palate. Short, with slight grass flavours with hints of vanilla and a dry spice finish.

A good tipple to enjoy, and one you can mix with the following –



Glass – 


Ingredients –

50 ml Ypioca Prata
1 Lime
1 Spoon of sugar

Method – 

Slice the lime, macerate with the sugar, add the ice and Ypioca Prata. Shake and serve.

You’ll see a lot of Ypioca over the summer, especially with the tie in it has with the World Cup. Experience, enjoy – two words that I fully support when it comes to cachaça.

© David Marsland and Drinks Enthusiast 2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog/sites author and owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to David Marsland and Drinks Enthusiast with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.


Sagatiba Tasting Notes


Cachaça is a funny spirit. A hard sell sometimes, but can fly out once tasted straight or even within a caipirinha. A brand that many bars stay trusted too, and recently seen a surge in popularity, is Sagatiba. Why the surge though? Well Gruppo Campari acquired the brand back in 2011 and with this came the opportunity for Sagatiba to establish itself as one of the forerunners in the cachaça world. But how did it all originally come about?

Sagatiba was created by a Brazilian entrepreneur named Marcos de Moraes. Born and bred in São Paulo, Marcos wanted to create a high-quality premium brand and give sugarcane spirits (i.e cachaça), their rightful place competing at the forefront of the global spirits market. After some years of successful growth, building the brand in Brazil and several countries around the world, Marcos decided that Sagatiba deserves more relevance in Brazil and abroad. With this, Gruppo Campari closed the deal to buy Sagatiba.

Over the years, Sagatiba has gained a three strong portfolio including a Pura, Preciosa and Velha. I’ve been lucky enough to try out one of their range, Velha, and below I give to you my tasting notes –

Sagatiba Velha – 38%

Handcrafted in small batches using the traditional copper pot distillation method, then laid to rest for at least 2 years in American white oak casks. Soft, buttery nose that leads to a smooth palate offering. Develops a lingering spice with a sweet flavour that lasts for a long finish.

The Velha is more your sipping spirit, but if you ever come across its younger brother Pura, try out one of these –

Passion Caipirinha
Passion Caipirinha

Passion Caipirinha

Glass –


Ingredients –

50 ml Sagatiba Pura
1 Passion fruit (the whole pulp)
2 Tea spoons of super fine white sugar

Method –

Squeeze and drop the passion fruit into a rock glass. Add the sugar and muddle slightly. Add Sagatiba Pura, fill with cubed ice and stir it.

A great twist on the original and easy to replicate at home. As mentioned, Sagatiba is creating a presence on most bars these days so don’t be afraid to give it a go. If you like it, add it to your collection at home. Plus, if you ever have the chance to try out the extremely rare Preciosa, let me know what it’s like! Apparantly, it was discovered by the Master Distiller at Engenho Central, one of the oldest sugarcane mills in Brazil. It was distilled in the traditional copper pot method and was laid to rest for 23 years in 19th century French oak casks. Only 3,000 bottles were preserved!

© David Marsland and Drinks Enthusiast 2013. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog/sites author and owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to David Marsland and Drinks Enthusiast with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Pitú Tasting Notes


If you’ve ever been to Brazil and had a drink, it would not surprise me if you replied by saying ‘cachaça’. Why? Well cachaça is the most popular beverage in Brazil where in 2007, over 1.5 billion litres were consumed. One brand you may have come across on your travels, or indeed seen a little closer to home, may have been Pitú.

Around since 1935 due to the dedication to the art of making cachaça by a company named Engarrafamento Pitu Ltda – the combination of Ferrer de Morais and Cândido Carneiro families, located in the State of Pernambuco, northeast Brazil. No expense is apparently spared in obtaining the finest sugar cane, pure water, and pedigreed yeast which are then all utilized by master distillers. Only the sugar-cane juice from the first pressings is used as this contains the fresh, pure taste that the family have been after for years on end. A maturing process of several weeks in a wooden vat allows the taste to unfold.

To name it Pitú, the story goes that the heads of the families met one evening at the river separating their family estates while their children played together on the riverbank. One of their favourite games was drawing pictures of things that they had just seen in the sand. The others had to guess what they had drawn. One of the children drew a picture of a ‘Pitú’, a species of fresh-water crab that is found only in that river and is very rare. When the heads of the families saw the drawing, they immediately knew that ‘Pitú’ was the ideal name for their drink.

So how does this fair? Well below, I give to you my tasting notes –

Pitú – 40%

A strong, yet fresh nose of butter and corn that mellows once it hits the palate. Rather soft with the butter flavour lingering to create a long finish. Slight wood notes near the end too.

Now as you can imagine, the recipe below is Brazil’s favourite, but I’ve added an extra one to spice up your night –

Pitu - CaiirinhaPitú Caipirinha

Glass – 

Old Fashioned

Ingredients – 

One-half lime
2 tsp. granulated or bar sugar
Crushed ice
50ml Pitú Cachaça
Garnish with slice of lime

Method – 

Cut lime into small pieces and place in an old-fashioned glass. Add sugar. Muddle lime and sugar with a spoon. Fill glass with ice. Add Pitú. Put contents in shaker, shake well, return contents to glass and serve.



Glass –


Ingredients –

40 ml Pitú Cachaça
40 ml Triple Sec
15ml fresh lime juice

Method – 

Put ingredients in cocktail shaker. Shake and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

Pitú is a rather diverse spirit, going well with cocktails, mixers such as coke or orange, or even over ice. There’s a reason why cachaça is the number one selling drink in Brazil, and bumper sales around the world.

Definitely worth a shot.

Purchase a bottle here and check out the rest of the photos via my Facebook page.

© David Marsland and Drinks Enthusiast 2013. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog/sites author and owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to David Marsland and Drinks Enthusiast with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.