All eyes are on Rio de Janeiro as the 2016 Olympic Games kick off on August 5th. For consumers who want to add a splash of authentic Brazilian flavor to their festivities, no spirit better represents the country than cachaça. Distilled from fermented fresh sugarcane juice, cachaça can be aged or unaged, and its flavor profile can range from fruity or vegetal to smoky or sweet. As the spirit’s fortunes have risen in recent years, mixologists are increasingly using it in cocktails beyond the traditional Caipirinha. Several cachaça brands have recently released new expressions to capitalize on the growing interest in Brazil’s national spirit.
Yaguara Ouro and Yaguara Branca
The Yaguara brand launched in 2014 with Yaguara Blended, an organic cachaça. This summer, the company unveiled two new extensions. Yaguara Branca (branca means “white” in Portuguese) is a 40.5-percent abv unaged cachaça retailing at $30 a 750-ml. bottle. Yaguara Ouro (ouro means “gold”) is at 42-percent abv and sells for $44. It’s a blended cachaça aged in two native Brazilian woods—Cabreúva and Amburana—as well as American oak. Both products are available in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Massachusetts and Florida. For more information, visit Cachacayaguara.com.
Sourced from sugarcane grown in Carmo, near Rio de Janeiro, Avuá Tapinhoã cachaça ($79.99 a 750-ml. bottle) is aged for up to two years in barrels made of Tapinhoã, a Brazilian native hardwood. The 40-percent abv spirit has a rich mouth feel with flavors of caramelized bananas, toasted coconut, honeycomb and cinnamon and can be consumed neat or in cocktails. The special-edition cachaça is available nationwide in limited quantities and will periodically return to the Avuá lineup. For more information, visit Avuacachaca.com.br.
Novo Fogo Single Barrel And Novo Fogo Graciosa
Novo Fogo added a new lineup of single barrel cachaças aged in oak earlier this summer. Limited to a few hundred bottles each, the range (abv varies) includes the 1-year-old Barrel 86 ($49.99 a 750-ml. bottle), which has notes of coffee cake and honeydew; the 3-year-old Barrel 33 ($69.99), with flavors of baked apple, dried apricot and tobacco leaf; the 3-year-old Barrel 152 ($69.99), which tastes of powdered sugar, toasted coconut and black walnut; and the 5-year-old Barrel 87 ($99.99), with notes of prunes, pecans, crème brulée and chamomile. In addition, Novo Fogo debuted Graciosa ($34.99), a cachaça aged for two years in repurposed American oak and finished for 18 months in barrels made of Brazilian castaneira do Pará wood. The 42-percent abv spirit follows Tanager, Novo Fogo’s first two-wood barrel-aged cachaça. The new spirits are available in select markets. For more information, visit Novofogo.com.