Why Aged Cachaça Is The New Hot Spirit

© Carey Jones

Until recently, Brazil’s national spirit, cachaça, was known primarily for one thing—the margarita-like caipirinha, with just ice, sugar, and lime. The problem with such a simple drink is that, frankly, plenty of cachaças, are terrible—unbelievably harsh or sickly sweet—and with little to cover them up, you can really tell.

But in recent years, we’ve started to see artisanal cachaça take off in America — it’s the newest obsession of bartenders across the country. Avuá Cachaça not only creates an excellent silver cachaça—they’re also experimenting with aging. Whereas most spirits age only in oak, Brazil has dozens of native trees that are used to make barrels.

RELATED: Daniel Boulud's Caipirinha

Amburana is just one. As Avuá’s cachaça is aged in a barrel of Amburana wood, it takes on warm flavors of cinnamon and vanilla, while maintaining a grassy element and a dry finish. It’s one-of-a-kind, and a ton of fun to mix with. Here are three of our favorite Amburana cocktails.

Easy: Apples & Amburana

With notes of cinnamon, vanilla, and spice, Amburana is just begging to be paired with apple. Combine it with fresh cider and club soda, and you’ve got one easy, yet most complex-tasting drinks we know.

Instructions: In a tall glass with ice, combine 1 1/2 ounces of Avuá Amburana, 3 ounces of fresh apple cider, and 1 ounce of club soda. Give a quick stir and garnish with a lime wedge squeezed into the drink.


Intermediate: Amburana Manhattan

Just like rye, Avuá Amburana has both inherent dry spice and a barrel-aged character — so an Amburana Manhattan is a no-brainer. Good, sweet vermouth like Carpano Antica and the dash of Angostura bitters are critical.

Instructions: In a mixing glass with ice, combine 2 ounces of Avuá Amburana, 1 ounce of Carpano Antica vermouth, and a dash of Angostura bitters. Stir all that up until very well-chilled and the ice begins to melt. Strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with a brandied cherry and a lemon peel, making sure to twist it over the surface of the drink to spray its citrus oils on top.


Advanced: Grapefruit, Ginger & Amburana

How do we turn Avuá Amburana into a cocktail as refreshing as the caipirinha — but a lot more interesting? Grapefruit and ginger beer. Ginger takes center-stage with grapefruit ensuring a balance of sweet and tart, while the complexity of Amburana comes through on the finish. We’d put back three of these on a sunny afternoon.

Instructions: In a cocktail shaker with ice, combine 2 ounces of Avuá Amburana and 1 ounce of fresh-squeezed ruby red grapefruit juice. Shake that all up hard, and strain into a rocks glass with fresh ice. Top with 1 ounce of ginger beer, and garnish with a grapefruit half-moon.

RELATED: Cachaça: The Spirit of Brazil

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