Monday, December 1, 2008

Libations to Love...Live and in Color!

On November 20th, Thursday Drink Night at the Mixoloseum took on an air of near-respectability with the generous sponsorship of Leblon Cachaça. Company founder & President Steve Luttmann, alongside founding Partner and COO Gerry Schweitzer joined in the discssions, answering all manner of questions about the spirit they produce.

Naturally, the theme of the night was this lovely artisanal example of Brazil's native spirit; and a record-setting thirty-one cocktails were originated throughout the evening utilizing it - some of them on-location by our team at Trader Vic's in Las Vegas.

Cachaça is a great spirit - the third most-produced liquor in the world - and is similar in production to Rum, while containing a number of the grassy, vegetal flavor characteristics that many people associate with Tequila. Leblon is the end product of a ferment of pressed sugarcane juice, which is then distilled in copper alembique stills, rather than the column stills utilized by other 'industrial' cachaças. The head and tail of the distillate is discarded, and the young spirit is rested for several months in used XO Cognac casks to soften & enrich its flavors before being blended by master distiller Gilles Merlet & filtered for bottling.

The resulting artisanal spirit weighs in at 40% ABV and has a wonderful, almost floral, aroma of grassy sugarcane coupled with a fairly soft mouthfeel & a mild, if flavorful, taste. These characteristics make it an excellent introductory spirit into the world of Cachaças and makes for a fantastic Caipirinha - the national drink of Brazil. Give it whirl in one of the many drinks originated at TDN, or in one of these delightful libations (©):

Missionary's Demise
1¼ oz. Leblon Cachaça
¾ oz. Blackstrap Rum (Cruzan)
½ oz. Orange Curaçao (Marie Brizard)
¾ oz. fresh Orange juice
¼ oz. fresh Lime juice
½ oz. Orgeat syrup
Combine ingredients in a mixing glass & shake well with plenty of cracked ice. Strain into a double Old-Fashioned glass half-filled with cracked ice & garnish with a sprig of fresh Spearmint.

Clementine Caipirinha
2 oz. Leblon Cachaça
1 whole fresh Clementine
1 wedge (): fresh Lime
1½ Teaspoons: Demerara sugar
Remove the ends from the Clementine & slice into quarters, being sure to remove any of the white pith in the center of the segments. In a mixing glass, muddle the Lime & Clementine wedges with the sugar. Add Cachaça with plenty of cracked ice & shake well. Pour unstrained into a double Old-Fashioned glass, top with fresh cracked ice & serve with a wide straw.

Cheers & Enjoy!
*In the interest of full disclosure, samples of Leblon were provided for this TDN event*


stefan said...

Re: the clementine caipirinha... when you say 1 whole clementine, is it peeled or skin-on? Intact or segmented? Thanks.

Tiare said...

I can see those flavors come together nicely..curious as i am i would to try it also with a dash of Eriks clementine bitters.