You may have seen the signs popping up, a shade of lime-green, a bottle, and a name that always makes us do a double-take, thinking King James has gone into the liquor business. No, it's just a massive marketing push from Leblon, a brand of cachaça. But what is cachaça exactly? And is it worth your scratch?
Cachaça is a liquor made from fresh-pressed sugar cane juice. It is the most popular alcoholic beverage produced in Brazil, but until recently, was not widely available elsewhere. Though cachaça is frequently compared to rum—they're both clear liquors associated with tropical environments—cachaça is not rum. To be labelled cachaça, the liquor must be made in Brazil, and it must be made from sugar cane, not molasses like many rums.
By itself, cachaça has a brighter, fruitier flavor than rum. There are light floral notes as well. Leblon, named after a neighborhood in Rio, is three-times filtered and finely balanced, a result of the cognac casks the liquor ages in. Just add a couple of ice cubes, a splash of lime, and you're ready to go. Of course, most of us will want to turn this into a cocktail.
Brazil's national cocktail is the caipirinha, and cachaça is the main ingredient. Keep clicking for three easy cocktails recipes (include the recipe for a traditional caipirinha) that incorporate cachaça. With all of August left, these should fit easily into your regular rotation of summer drinks.