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Cachaça Tasting

Streetgourmetla caused me to become fascinated with the national spirit of Brazil, Cachaça [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cacha%C3...] after an incredible tasting at his home.

Since then I have tasted 4 more different cachacas that I enjoyed.

- Ypioca Ouro
- Fazenda Mae de Ouro
- Coral
- Boca Loca

Of the 4 the only that I could enjoy sipping was the Ypioca gold, which was smooth and rich enough.

Mae de Ouro made the best Caipirinha - it had a balanced and interesting flavor. Much more complex than your run of the mill pitu.

Surpringly Coral and Boca loca were not bad - I only got the sampler sizes, Coral slightly edging over boca loca in taste.

Ypioca http://www.bevmo.com/Shop/ProductDeta...

Fazendo Mae de Ouro http://www.caipirinha.us/

Coral http://www.wallywine.com/ps-15595-450...

Boca Loca www.drinkbocaloca.com/

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  1. Good for you! Cachaca is a wonderful spirit. Try Sagatiba Pura if you can find it. The funny thing is how expensive cachaca is here in the US. When I was in Brazil, most cachacas could be had for about US$2-$4 for a bottle at the corner grocery stores (this is the mid-level stuff like Ypioca and Ouro). The higher end spirits such as the aged/gold versions like Sao Francisco were $5-$8 a bottle. Here those bottles are $30+. I am returning to Brazil in about a year, and will arrange for a larger shipment home this time, I didn't realize what a bargain I was getting last time!

    1 Reply
    1. re: ed1066

      i second the sagatiba pura. they seem to have inked a big distribution deal recently, and should be easier to get soon.

    2. KR, thanks for doing the downfield blocking on this one. I will make a note of your favored brands of cachaca, with hopes I can find them somewhere. I generally have the same problem as ed1066 in that I can only find the worst of the worst, and usually end up making caipiroskas with vodka, which are good but not the genuine article. Again, thanks.

      1. Hey KR.I'm surprized you remember anything about that tasting!

        The majority of your caipirinhas you would have in Brazil are made with Ypioca, 51, or Velho Barreiro(my favorite for the massed produced type).These are the standard well cachacas and are perfectly fine for a caipirinhas, and actually fantastic when made properly.

        There are no sipping cachacas here in the states, except the one that is sold in Fogo de Chao's here in the US, Weber Haus.The heavily US marketed bottles like Sagatiba,Leblon and Beleza Pura are also for cocktails.Yes, these are dirt cheap in Brazil, especially Ypioca and the like, but some high end stuff starts around 12-20 bucks.They can even go up from there in price.I've paid $40-60 for some bottles I have, depending on the exchange, one trip it was R$1.55 to the dollar, yikes.

        Mae de Ouro makes for a great caipirinha, Pitu is awful, but you should be fine with 51 or Ypioca. I use Sagatiba for making batidas, like the ones I make with starfruit or passionfruit, they're more delicate than the lime used in caipirinhas.You could also have Sagatiba or similar brands on the rocks, but I like a cachaca good enough to drink straight like Germana.

        Some of these brands,Boca Loca and Coral, never came across them in Brazil, seem like straight to US market type of brands.Nice bottle, nice campaign.

        My recs:
        51,Ypioca, and Mae de Ouro(best) for caipirinhas
        Sagatiba for batidas
        Weber Haus at Fogo de Chao for sipping cachaca
        Go to Brazil for the rest.
        But man, 51 and Ypioca just bring me back to the street boteco or lanchonete.It's 3AM at Os Bandeirantes and that same guy is talking smack about the soccer match with a cross town rival,the garotas are stopping for a drink on the way to their next club, couples are dancing to some pagode.

        24 Replies
        1. re: streetgourmetla

          I have a friend traveling to sao paulo this summer and they have promised to send back some cachaca. Any additional tips on what to buy and what is the best way to send it back. Can they just go to the local ups store or are there local liquor merchants who will ship

          1. re: quazi

            I'm able to bring 4 bottles in my tote.I use running shoes as shock absorbers and wrap all the bottles in clothing,I've thought of bubble wrap but always forget to buy some before I leave Brazil.The duty-free has a few bottles of terrible cachaca, so you need to get it into a checked bag.

            Great cachacas to buy:Seleta, Lua Cheia, Salinas,Cristalina,Boazinha, Lua Nova, Prazer de Minas, Maria da Cruz, Germana, Isaura,Meia Lua,Saliboa, Volupia,Fabulosa,Dom Braga,Beija Flor, Magnifica, Serra Preta,Da Tulha, or the prestigious Havana.

            There are so many more. For a fun bottle,cachaca Guarda Chuva de Pobre, which translates to poorman's umbrella,or Leite da Mulher Amada(milk of a loved woman).

            I've never shipped, just grabbing bottles each time I go, and having friends visiting bring back bottles.

            1. re: streetgourmetla

              thanks!! I will report back what she is able to send back

              1. re: quazi

                My friend brought back Seleta - nice but a little rough, Velho Barriero - quite smooth, and I few I have yet to try including salinas, sagatiba and jamel. she also brought back an aphrodisiac/tonic Selvagem and some tiny tubes of an alcohol honey mix

                1. re: quazi

                  Don't know JAmel. Seleta and Salinas are great, lucky you. Before you pour your Seleta, put ice and water in the glass to chill it a bit, dump the ice water,then pour your Seleta, should go down nice.

              2. re: streetgourmetla

                I was given a bottle of 3 yr aged Isaura at Tales of the Cocktail last year and it is rather good. Off that list, Seleta is available at a local store in Boston (apparently, Playboy gave it high marks) and might be my go to after my bottle of Isaura Oro runs dry.

                I tried a few at a cachaca tasting, and GRM was amazing with its spice from the 3 woods it was aged in, and Rochinha was kind of need from the smokey notes (aged in old Scotch barrels). Only problem is that their price points are rather high. Notes from the event:
                http://cocktailvirgin.blogspot.com/20...

                1. re: yarm

                  Isaura is great but get that Seleta. Makes sense, Boston has the largest BRazilian community in the US, so lucky you to have that selection.

                  GRM is very pricey here in the US.Too pricey.

                  I have a bottle of Seleta at home, can't wait to hear back after you give it a toot!

                2. re: streetgourmetla

                  We have just returned from Rio and I have a bottle of Salinas from Menas Gerais. We had feiojoada at Degrau in Leblon on Saturday and this is what they use. They were the best capirinhas I've EVER had. When I have a chance I'm going to contact these people in MA and CT and see what the deal is. We have the gold. Bought a bottle in the restaurant for R$35 which is around US$15.

                  http://www.riosliquors.com/cachaca.htm

                  1. re: c oliver

                    Most of the Rios Liquors Minas Gerais cachaças are available at liquor stores in Newark (Seabra at 83-87 Wilson Avenue, for instance). They cost less than 20 dollars a bottle.

                    Beco Bar in Williamsburg carries a number of these, though obviously there they are sold by the glass, not the bottle. http://becobar.com/

                    I would assume that in other large Brazilian/Portuguese neighborhoods similar to Newark's Ironbound you might similarly be able to find the cachaças sold by Rios Liquors.

                    1. re: AdrianLesher

                      For large concentration of brasilian restaurants in NYC, try Astoria Queens. Whatever cachaca they use at Favela Grill is worth trying... the capirinhas are delicious there.

                      1. re: TombstoneShadow

                        That menu looks great. Don't care for the name however :(

                        1. re: c oliver

                          I've been to most of the Brazilian restaurants in Astoria and LIC, and they don't have a better selection of cachaças than Beco. (Beco has Seleta, Beleza de Minas, and others.) Beco also has tje São Paulo cachaça Velho Barreiro, which, while not an artisanal cachaça, has really interesting nice botanical notes in both its light and dark varieties. (You can also find this in the liquor stores in Newark's ironbound.)

                          Beco is also a great place to try out mate and caju cocktails, made with either cachaça or vodka.

                          1. re: AdrianLesher

                            It's funny. We have a LONG layover at Newark in January before a redeye to Israel. First I'd been thinking cabbing to someplace in Ironbound. But then our credit card provides us with two passes to the United club. But NOW I'm thinking Brazilian food and cachaca is looking strong. Thanks.

                          2. re: c oliver

                            For the menu, Malagueta is my favorite brasilian restaurant in Queens, and easily one of my fave of any cuisine in the entire city:
                            http://www.malaguetany.com/menu.htm

                            A little smallish gem. Never had a capirinha there, always BYOB'd our own wine...

                            Favela Grill more average quality food and great atmosphere.

                            Most of the other brasilian places in Astoria are simpler working-class buffets.

                            1. re: TombstoneShadow

                              Malagueta is pretty good, but because of its chef's French training, it's sort of a French/Brazilian fusion restaurant. Point Brasil is one of the buffet (comida a kilo) places you're talking about, but it's quite good.

                              Beco in Williamsburg does pretty well with bar/snack food. The pão de queijo is very satisfying, as are the various sandwiches. They also do a decent moqueca, though it's hard in New York to find a moqueca that meets Bahian standards. (There used to be a place with a great moqueca underneath the Ditmas Boulevard Q stop, but that's long gone.) Also, Point Brasil apparently has a monthly Bahian sampler on the first Saturday of every month; that might be a good place to find a moqueca. http://www.pointbrazilrestaurant.com/

                              For pasteles and other Brazilian junk/snack food, I enjoy Hamburgão in Newark. http://www.eattheworldnyc.com/2011/12... There are a number of branches; I like the one at 329 Ferry Street. The pasteles are HUGE, and you can get vegetarian varieties such as cheese and heart of palm. I wish I could find a place that makes the tapioca crepes you find on the street in Rio and Salvador.

                              1. re: AdrianLesher

                                Interesting comments on Malagueta... I always picked up that there is a cuisine "twist" there... so French/Brasilian... I'll buy that... but they really do it well.

                                The chef is so talented... worth a trip for the flan alone... usually I wouldn't walk across the street for the gloppy &^%$ that passes for flan at 99% of places, but here it's ethereal... I remember one night it wasn't so good, so we asked the chef the next time what happened... he apologized, said that there's a "window" of time of about 5 minutes where you have to do something, take it off the heat or whatever, and they missed it.

                                I also notice that he does a passion fruit capirinha... the passion fruit mousse dessert is another reason to make the drive so I suspect the drink is good too.

                                And I love the BYOB friendliness... a brilliant restaurant.

                                Thanks alot for the other reccos too... looks like I have to plan a safari around to them all.

                                1. re: TombstoneShadow

                                  Passion fruit mousse is my fave dessert after feijoada in Rio!

                                  1. re: c oliver

                                    So it actually is a real brazilian dish? They make it fantastic at Malagueta... one of the great decisions in New York dining: should I order flan or mousse for dessert there...

                                    1. re: TombstoneShadow

                                      See this photo. Pretty much right in the middle is the passion fruit mousse. But then above that is the flan. I like a little of each and some orange segments. Perfect ending to a perfect Saturday lunch on Copacabana :)

                                       
                                      1. re: TombstoneShadow

                                        Passion fruit mousse is pretty ubiquitous in Brazilian restaurants.

                                        1. re: StriperGuy

                                          Yep. I can buy it at snack shops, bakeries, even grocery stores.

                                  2. re: AdrianLesher

                                    Unfortunately, I found out today that the 329 Ferry Street Hamburgão closed earlier this year. The Lafayette Street Hamburgão is ok, but the pasteis are not as good. Pão de queijo from the Lafayette Street Hamburgão was stale and disappointing. There id another outlet in Kearny, perhaps it is better.

                            2. re: AdrianLesher

                              The place to go for Rios cachaças (Salinas, Lua Cheia, Meia Lua, etc.) is Olshin's Pharmacy—yes, I said pharmacy—on Congress and Lafayette Sts. Most all of it is under $20 a litre. They also have an outstanding selection of Portuguese bagaceiras (grappas) for unbelievably low prices.

                              1. re: Das Ubergeek

                                Cool. Next EWR layover I know where we're headed :)

                    2. Speaking of advertising campaigns!

                      1. The Pitu I was given a bottle of tastes like someone put that crawdad on the label in with some cheap tequila and waited until it dissolved.

                        So I hope there are indeed better ones out there...

                        10 Replies
                        1. re: fussycouple

                          Yikes!Pitu straight, don't do it.I don't even like Pitu in a caipirinha.None of these brands available commercially in the US, at least that I've come across in the LA market should be consumed in anything other than a caipirinha, batida, or other cocktail.That includes Pitu, and Rio Joe's, the worst. The industrial giants 51 and Ypioca(including Toucano), wonderful for downhome caipirinhas, Mae de Ouro is a step up.The multi-distilled Cabana, Agua Luca,Beleza Pura,Leblon, and Sagatiba in the next price tier are also for making cocktails. All of these will do in a cocktail except for that nasty Pitu.

                          1. re: streetgourmetla

                            streetgourmetla did a very good explanation abt cachaça, even better than me that I was supposed to be a good conesseur as a Brazilian and consumer of caipirinhas and cachaças. I just desagree abt Sagatiba, that is too much marketing and too little taste, you will pay more for less quality than Ypioca. If you can find in your market buy any cachaça frm the Salinas area, any of them are far better than all others, except the ones frm Paraty like Coqueiro and Maria Isabel.
                            The good ones frm Salinas will cost abt US$ 5-6 in Brazil. I can suggest Boazinha, Seleta, Salinense, Lua Cheia.
                            Some will cost more than US$ 100 like Anisio Santiago, waste of time and money, buy a good cognac for half price.

                            1. re: meirelles

                              Meirelles, tudo bem?

                              I have Lua Cheia and Boazinha at home,otimo! I make caipirinhas with Ypioca,51 and Velho Barreiro at home, exclusively.Mae de Ouro, too.Irmao, Seleta e muito gostozo.

                              Salinas is the best cachaca producing city in the best state, MG.

                              But, we can't get these amazing brands like Lua Cheia here in the US.I buy all the cachacas here that are available to try them.In Brazil, no one uses Leblon, Sagatiba, etc.Just look as the bottles, they don't represent the tradition and as you say are trying to bring a product in the U.S. market, and don't represent the Brazilian spirit or palate. I won't replace the Sagatiba bottle I bought at Bevmo when I'm done with it, I'll stick to the said brands for cocktails.At Fogo de Chao, I have a caipirinha with 51 or Ypioca, then I hit that Weber Haus.

                              I also have Vale Verde, Germana, Isaura and many more in my collection.

                              Concordo com voce, a caipirinha with a $20 bottle of Ypioca, or a $30 bottle of Sagatiba.Hello!

                              1. re: meirelles

                                I agree that cachaça from Salinas is the best. There are a couple I've found for sale in the U.S. that are great: DiSalinas and Meia Lua (both silver and gold). Found both retailing under $20.

                                  1. re: streetgourmetla

                                    The 20 dollar bottle was a liter, incidentally.

                                    1. re: streetgourmetla

                                      I'm in MA, so I found Meia Lua 1L at Blanchard's-Allston, which now also carries the great Seleta. Boazinha is another I recently tried and enjoyed, got that at Framingham Liquors.

                                      1. re: DebsView

                                        Debs, for me Seleta is the best quality/value I can find in Brazil! It costs abt US$ 7-8

                                    2. re: DebsView

                                      Meia Lua and Beleza de Minas are available at liquor stores in Newark's Ironbound. I think the ones I saw them in are the Lisbon Liquor Store 114 Ferry St, Newark, NJ 07105 and Oporto Wines & Liquors‎ 178 Ferry Street, Newark, NJ‎ (973) 589-3325‎.

                                      I bought a bottle of Meia Lua Gold at Oporto ($20) and it was quite good. It's aged two years in balsam and is a reasonably good example of a good Minas cachaca. It's very drinkable straight.

                                      When I go back I will get the gold Cachaca de Minas. This one's from the same manufacturer. It differs from Meia Lua in at least one important aspect: it's aged two years in Umburana wood instead of balsam. which should give it a different flavor.

                                      If you're interested the website for the Cachaca is here (in Portuguese): http://www.cachacameialua.com.br/

                                      The distributor is here: http://riosliquors.com/eng/

                                      1. re: AdrianLesher

                                        Meia Lua is great, I concur.I had it last April on a major cachaca binge in Sao Paulo.

                                1. Apparently in the Nordeste of Brasil, its custom to serve Cachaca straight with a side of cut cashew fruit and salt "Caju-amigo". Sounds a lot like the lime and salt tradition with tequila in MEX.

                                  http://come-se.blogspot.com/2008/09/f...

                                  http://br.answers.yahoo.com/question/...

                                  1. >Update<

                                    I bought some more boca loca and coral sampler sizes. I made some more caipirinhas - I need to amend and say that boca loca is better then coral. I dont know if I just made the caipirinhas better this time but the boca loca I made are stunningly delcious.

                                    1. My wife and I spent some time in Caxambu in MG and it seemed that wherever you went the little roadside cachaca places had the best stuff. Just like anything else, eat local drink local. My favorite was a little one on the hill above Caxambu called Paraiso, or one that had Minas on the bottle. Probably more for sentimental reasons, but most of the local stuff was good enough to drink straight.

                                      1. Here's a premium aged cachaca that supposedly is available in the states: Rochinha.
                                        http://www.belezapura.com/aged-artisa...
                                        http://travel.nytimes.com/2008/04/09/...

                                        Any sightings?

                                        5 Replies
                                        1. re: kare_raisu

                                          Does anyone have a comparison of the Ypioca crystal (clear bottle) to the basket-wrapped Ypioca silver bottle? We'd formerly tried the former, picked up the latter today as it was the other Ypioca they had in stock. Was about $5 more.

                                          1. re: Cinnamon

                                            Go with the basket, iconic and perfect for caipirinhas.

                                            1. re: streetgourmetla

                                              And preferred by my Brasilan friends (who live in Brasil).

                                                1. re: Cinnamon

                                                  Yeah, but it's not a sipper, it's a mixer.