Can one use Gold (Ouro) Cachaca in a caipirinha?
I have been making caipirinhas for some time now, but always with silver (Prata) Cachaca.
I have been meaning to try some Cachaca Ouro and was wondering if one can use Gold (Ouro) Cachaca in a caipirinha? Or is this a sacrilege and Prata should always be used?
I sent an email to my friend in Brazil and will post his response when I receive it.
I would appreciate your feedback.
While you can use either, and I have had ones made with aged cachaca, in Brazil the gold is meant for sipping. The white is used in caipirinhas, and usually not even a premium, but an industrial cachaca, one of the cheap brands. There is actually a saying that I heard when I was in Brazil, "Quanto pior a cachaça, melhor a caipirinha––the worse the cachaça, the better the caipirinha." And I tend to agree, I think that a strong, rough, funky, industrial cachaca really goes better with the lime juice and oils, and the sugar smooths it out. Using an aged cachaca can give you drink that is overwhelmed by the lime.
Thanks for your reply.
I know that Prata is more for Caipirinhas/mixing and ouro more for sipping as my Brazilian friend has told me. I just tried a Caipirinha with ouro cachaca and I did enjoy it. I did scale back the sugar though.
I do see what you and yarm mean that it is a bit different from a caipirinha with prata cachaca. The ouro is not as strong and there are definitely some woody undertones which you don't have with the prata.
A few notes here. Cachaca isn't largely sold in Brazil with this is is an ouro(a) and that a prata, such labelings tend to be more on larger brands (and there are colored cachacas with carmel coloring and stuff just like tequilas) without telling you much about the aging. A branquinha is one way of saying the clear cachaca and dourada for the brown spirit and many small brands make both for the same price unless one is aged or a reserve. Also with aged cachaca (armazenada). its not like Bourbon where there are standard regimes and new barrels are used. There are different materials carvalho (oak), castanheira (chestnut more neutral than oak), cerejeira (cherry), jequitiba (a Brazilian wood which is fairly neutral). In fact there are plenty of white cachacas which are aged in wood (largely in large tanks called a "dorna" or barrels especially jequitba) as well as stainless. The dornas don't give much extract and older barrels are used as well as new. Plus there are premium white cachacas and a common way to serve cachaca at home is to buy the cheap stuff and put it in a 3L or so wood barrel over the refridgerator.
In Brazil there are a lot more options for potstilled (cachaca de alambique) including some more inexpensive ones, but you have to be careful to watch out for ones with lots of congeners. But there are organic cachacas you can find at truck stops and country stores (really) which are well made, as well as some local ones in the interior part of Brazil -- bars sometimes buy it by the barrel and fill up bottles but these aren't usually the nicer ones). In cities the mercado municipal is a good place usually to get some but you need to usually be careful (at a minimum be wary of pickpockets and negotiate the price at small stalls), larger supermarkets generally have a few pot stilled brands for a bit more (but cheap compared to the US), and in Rio/SP you can find cheap cacacha from Minas (because of the proximity) in areas where people from other parts of Brazil live (I don't necessarily recommend this, its better for a tourist to buy it at the carrefour than take a cab to a sketchy area and risk being mugged though. In the mercado municipais you can sometimes find the small wood casks and truck stops specializing in "coisas da roca" or "produtos caseiros" (more informal than "artesenatos") have all sorts of odd things to store cachaca like polished cow hooves with a bottle in them, etc.
For those in the Northeast of the US there are a fair number of options available in Brazilian areas, basic white cachacas from Minas (hard to tell what is industrial what isn't), some pot stilled cachacas which are aged... and the usual column distilled bunch. And the GRM mentioned is a really nice cachaca in a sexy bottle from the triangulo mineiro (three-cities area of Minas Gerais near Goias) but I wouldn't use it for a caipirinha unless you had some really really nice limes or could charge a lot for the drink! Of the ones Faune mentioned I would prefer Velho Barreiro which is ok for drinking and pitu.
Well the ouro in question was: Ypioca Empalhada Ouro which I really like. I know its industrial and all but I enjoy sipping it and it was good in a caipirinha, but not as pronounced as on of the Pratas (clear).
What's interesting is that both you (itaunas) and my Brazilian friend both recommended Velho Barreiro and Pitu. I saw a lot of people bad mouthing Pitu in various forums saying its "rocket fuel" "the worst of the worst " etc...
My friend told me that when he was younger they would buy Velho Barreiro for next to nothing.
Thank you for your reply
I've used both. The gold will be smoother, richer, and have less bite but you can sometimes gain some interesting wood notes. Granted, I'm not from Brazil.
I think the most decadent caipirinha was made with GRM which is a small batched cachaça ($75/bottle) at a cachaca tasting. I believe it was aged for 2 years in a few different types of wood. It was rather wonderful, but a different beast from one made with a hot, grassy, funky silver cachaca.
And the answer from Brazil might be "we only drink the prata and ship out the aged".