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

Advertisements

Ypioca

Ypioca

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 –

Caipirinha
Caipirinha

Caipirinha

Glass – 

Rocks

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.

 

Pitú Tasting Notes

Pitu

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.

or

Cacharita

Glass –

Margarita

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.

 

Leblon Tasting Notes

Leblon

Cachaça is a spirit that most have heard of, many have maybe even drank its most famous concoction – the caipirinha, but does it have the same knowledge and understanding as say to gin, vodka or whisky? Did you know that cachaça comes from the South American country of Brazil? And that back in 2007, approximately 1.5 billion litres was being consumed annually? So for something that hits the billion mark, how do we know so little about it, despite it being the third most consumed spirit in the world?

Cachaça was conceived and first consumed approximately 1530-1550 in Brazil, with early reports citing the state Bahia (then a Portuguese captaincy) as its origin. Cachaça is made from  natural sugar cane juice, where in the 15th century, Brazil was the biggest sugar producer in the world. The first use of distilled cachaça was to the natives and to feed the slaves so they could work without feeling so much pain. Despite the rest of the Brazilian population regarding cachaça as a poor man’s drink and instead opting for imported whiskeys and cognacs, the versatile taste of cachaça meant it began to be consumed by the Brazilian elite and became very popular in Brazil around the 16th century. Its popularity was so big that it dwarfed competitive Portuguese products, resulting with the Portuguese court banning cachaça consumption in many Brazilian states from 1635 to 1639. Over the years new and better methods for producing cachaça were developed and the spirit started to appear on the finest tables in the colonial Brazil. Around 1808 when Brazil was close to become a free country from the Portuguese colony, cachaça was one of the most important products of the Brazilian economy.

In hopes of boosting cachaça to the heights of acceptance, respectability and especially sales that Mexican tequila has enjoyed, the Brazilian government has imposed several new cachaça regulatory measures. In 2001, then Brazilian President Fernando Henrique Cardoso signed a decree that established cachaça as an official and exclusive name for Brazilian cane alcohol. Then in October 2003 the new Brazilian president, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, issued another decree specifying both the names cachaça and the Caipirinha as strictly Brazilian in origin. Brazil has also sent this issue to the World Trade Organization in the hope that the names cachaça and Caipirinha will eventually gain intellectual property rights protection under international law.

The US however is one of the few countries that defines any spirit derived from sugar cane as rum. Accordingly, cachaça sold in the United States must say “rum” somewhere on the front label. Many brands refer to their product as Brazilian Rum on the label, despite cachaça predating the invention of rum by over a century. One brand has taken this to new heights and had made changing the Brazilian Rum moniker a priority. Leblon’s ‘Legalize Cachaça’ campaign targeted bartenders, the trade, consumers and the press with the purpose of educating the masses about the distinctions between cachaça and rum. The campaign also lobbied the United States Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau to recognize cachaça as a class or type of distilled spirit under the authority of the Federal Alcohol Administration Act. As a result, the U.S. government agreed to begin proceedings to allow the recognition of Cachaça as both ‘Cachaça’ and as a distinctive product of Brazil. In return, the Brazilian government agreed to recognize both Tennessee Whiskey and Bourbon as distinctive products of the United States.

So how did Leblon become such a force and influence the change in something on an international scale?

Leblon was created back in 2005 by Steve Luttmann, Roberto Stoll (although no longer directly linked to Leblon) and Gerard Schweizer after Steve thought that he could make not only a better cachaça, but the best. After two years of hard work, Steve brought in master distiller Gilles Merlet who perfected the production of Leblon to become ‘a great cachaça’. Produced in Minas Gerais (a state in Brazil) and named after a neighbourhood in Rio de Janeiro that Steve used to live in, Leblon’s exclusive microdistillery creates small batches via Alambique pot stills, as opposed to mass-produced via continuous stills. The reason for this is to create a more refined product, as Gilles Merlet approched Leblon as if making a fine wine.

The cane is hand-harvested from a nearby field, and because of the land elevation, the canes grow taller, producing more liquid and flavour. It’s then delivered to the distillery in less than three hours for pressing. The juice is fermented for 15 hours before being transferred into the Alambique copper pot stills for single-batch distillation (these stills can hold 450,000 litres each). The distillate is then rested up to 6 months in vintage XO cognac casks from France. The cognac casks are used because they retain the nose of the cachaça, compared to local woods that were first tried and tested. The various batches are then blended, and the final batch is triple-filtered and bottled.

So how does this major force in the cachaça industry finish? Well below, I give to you my tasting notes –

Leblon – 40%

Soft aromas of grass and dry corn on the nose, with a subtle mix of herbs and vanilla near the end. On the palate, a smooth blend of subtle butterscotch and citrus flavours go hand-in-hand with a sweet, mouth-watering ending that goes on and on.

As you can imagine, Leblon goes very well with Brazil’s national drink – the caipirinha, but it also mixes nicely with other ingredients.

Caipirinha

Leblon Caipirinha

Glass –

Rocks

Ingredients –

60 ml Leblon
30 ml sugar syrup / 2 tea spoons of sugar
1/2 lime

Method –

Slice half a lime and place into a rocks glass. Add sugar syrup and smash the limes to extract the juice. Pour in Leblon, fill with ice and stir.

or perhaps

Orange and Spice

Glass –

Rocks

Ingredients –

45 ml Leblon
30 ml Orange juice
15 ml Aperol
15 ml Sugar syrup

Method –

Combine all ingredients in a shaker. Add ice, shake and strain over ice into a rocks glass. Garnish with an orange slice or cinnamon stick.

Two fantastic examples of how versatile cachaça can be. And whilst you’re serving these up at home or being created one at your local bar, you can be safe in the knowledge that you will be drinking an award-winning spirit too. Leblon was a Gold Medal winner at the 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, and 2012 San Francisco World Spirits Competition, a 7-consecutive-year run, which is a first for any cachaça. (In 2007, 2010, 2011, and 2012 Leblon was awarded the Double Gold Medal for Best Cachaça.) It was also the Best in Class Winner at the 2007 International Tasting Competition in London and was awarded the 2010 Rising Star Growth Brand Award.

Not bad for something we hardly know anything about. Worthy of a try.

Check out the rest of the photos, taken at The Circle 360, via my Facebook page.

* Special thanks to Steve Luttmann who gave me the chance to speak to him personally regarding his thoughts and origins on his creation.*

© 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.

Konyagi and Ouza Fire Water taste notes

Konyagi

Konyagi - Tanzanian 'Fire Water'

On a recent trip to Tanzania, my friend bought back with her a bottle of Konyagi, or ‘fire water’. Intrigued by this i googled what i could find on Konyagi (the back of the bottle was of no help due to what i presume was written in an African language) and came up with the following –

INGREDIANT: Molasses, Spices and flavorings
PROOF:  (35%) 
AGE: Not Applicable
TYPE: Flavored

http://www.spiritsreview.com/reviews-rum-konyagi.html

It mentions how its rum flavoured and also described as a liquor so i presume it could be classed with spirits like Drambuie.

Anyway once opened a medicinal yet a slightly more gin smelling aroma hit me with some floral hints edging in there too. Its taste went down rather surprisingly quite smooth with only a hint of a ‘fire edge’ and gave your mouth and throat a slow tingle as it makes its way. This was definitely not what i expected ‘fire water’ to be like and i agree with what the link (posted above) recommends to have this spirit apart of (Mojito or Caipirinha) – it wouldn’t over power any of the other ingredients. I can see it being rather mellow, almost like your average white rum in a way with just that distinctive hint of fire to let you know your drinking something different.

Ouzo
Ouzo - Cypriot 'Fire Water'

Again a friend of mine came back from the island of Cyprus with a bottle of Cypriot ‘fire water’ or Ouzo. Attached to it a nifty 25ml shot glass with Cyprus emblazoned on it adds to the collection nicely! With no back label i once again had a quick search to see what came up, with a more varied result compared to the Konyagi. Ouzo is apparently a popular aperitif in both Cyprus and Greece and is consumed neat or with water and is served ice-cold. Now i have to admit, i didn’t taste mine ice-cold after only reading about this after i had tasted it, but i will freeze it over night, try it again and let you all know if there is any difference.

Its aromas of aniseed had the thoughts of Sambuca running through my head and indeed the taste does bode similar to that of the Italian aperitif. A slight mouth-watering effect hits you as it travels through your mouth, which you don’t really get with the Konyagi. However, Ouza feels a lot more raw and stripped down with a bigger kick of fire as its after-taste.

Now if i had to choose between the two, Konyagi would be my choice. Yes Ouzo backs up its ‘fire water’ tag better than Konyagi does but there is a lot more choice with what you can do with the Tanzanian spirit. Its easy drinking and you could get through a 200ml bottle with a lot more ease than you would Ouzo.