The Olympic games are underway in Rio (with a steadily rising medal count) but here in Boston, local bartenders are flexing their beverage muscles with Brazil’s national liquor, cachaça. Alden & Harlow beverage director Seth Freidus features Avuá Cachaça, right from the source in Rio, on his creatively minded, well-balanced cocktail menu. Below, he explains what makes the spirit a good staple and shares a drink recipe to help you stick the homebar landing.
I really like cachaça because it’s a different style of rum that’s super clean. Rum can be made from sugar, from fresh-pressed sugar cane juice, from by-products of making sugar (molasses). Cachaça is made from fresh-pressed sugar cane juice so it’s super clean, nice and funky when it’s done well—vegetal, grassy.
A lot of the larger producers – because they’re producing so much – what they’ll do is burn down the sugar cane fields and then take all that and distill that. Where Avuá comes in, and why we use it, is they do it by hand, rather than burning it down and mowing up the burnt sugar cane.
I like the true-to-form white rums that are done well. They’re very flavorful when they come through in citrus-forward cocktails.
For someone trying out cachaça, a simple daiquiri or a Ti’ Punch would be great, so you can actually taste what the spirit really is but it’ll still be refreshing and extremely palatable.
It’s actually more versatile than people think. There’s a lot of classic rum cocktails out there and you can absolutely substitute cachaça but a lot of people don’t know what it is when they see it on a menu.
1.5oz Avuá Prata
1oz Strawberry Gentian Syrup
1oz House Buttermilk Yogurt
.75oz Fresh Lemon Juice
.5oz Smoked Celery Agave
Shake all the ingredients and double strain into a chilled lowball over fresh ice. Garnish with a strawberry skewer.
For more Olympic-level beverages, head to Alden & Harlow during the summer games. For more info on cachaça and Avuá, read up here and raise a glass to Rio.