Spirits are high as Olympians go head-to-head for their homelands. No matter who you’re rooting for in Rio, you can get in on all the global camaraderie via your cocktail glass. Over at Drink, general manager Ezra Star and the beverage team employ their speed, dexterity and strength to serve up creations featuring Brazil’s national spirit, cachaça. Below, Star shares tasting notes on Rio-made brand Avuá Cachaça and a recipe for a rum-running nod to the summer games.
I like using Avuá Cachaça because it’s floral and fruity without being overbearing. It has all those things you like in a flowery cordial but without the sweetness behind it. I find it’s really helpful to build dry citrus-forward cocktails and lighter whiskey drinks for the summer.
The Oak we tend to put in cocktails where we would use whiskey because it has some of the same flavors. It gives you a lightness that you might not have with, say, a rye or a bourbon.
Caipirinha is what people start with and they ask us to play around with that.
My very first caipirinha was being blended by a bunch of Brazilians at a house party. They brought a bottle of – I think it was really shitty cachaça — and they were pouring sugar and crushed ice and wine into blenders and blending them. It was maybe one of the worst drinks I’ve ever had in my life. It was a nice experience when I finally learned about the caipirinha and had one made the right way.
Avuá makes a really great daiquiri variation because of the floral-ness of it. It brings out all that stuff in limes you can only taste when you’re smelling the lime.
You can really tell the aging — the resting period they’re using for cachaça — gives it a different note. I find the cachaça gives you a lot of the stuff you’ll have with Martinique rum so it’s a good synonym. But when it comes down to it, it really has its own distinctive flavor.
Add all ingredients in a shaker, shake with ice, and strain into chilled coupe or cocktail glass.
For more Olympic-level beverages, head to Drink during the summer games. For more info on cachaça and Avuá, read up here and raise a glass to Rio.