Catching Up with Cachaça

At the Copa, Copacabana, it’s said that music and passion are always the fashion, but did you know that the drinks are top-notch, too? Inside the Lenox Hill NYC nightclub Barry Manilow so splashily sang about, yes—but even more so directly from the source: the coastal neighborhood within Rio de Janeiro, a land of samba, sunshine, and ice-cold cachaça cocktails. 

No beach day, especially in Brazil, is complete without the muddled mix of lime, sugar, and spirit called a caipirinha, but the road to formal recognition for its star was a long one. For decades cachaça sold sluggishly and was reductively labeled as “Brazilian rum,” a characterization that lumped it in with its sugarcane-derived sibling, neglecting the fact that, by using the juice instead of byproducts like molasses, Brazilians were achieving a wholly different flavor profile. 

In response came a push for legitimacy, which began in the 1990s and culminated fairly recently with three major milestones for cachaça: the United States’ marking it as a distinctive product of Brazil in 2013, and two enormous marketing opportunities when the country hosted the 2014 FIFA World Cup and the 2016 Summer Olympics and Paralympics. This led to countless “What to Drink During . . .” articles and elevated those festivities for sports fans by showing them how to fill their glasses and hearts with cachaça as the Cariocas so joyfully do.

Like the margarita did for tequila internationally, this cemented the caipirinha’s status as an ultra-tasty Trojan horse for cachaça, delighting drinkers with simplicity but then piquing their appetite for more ways to complement its earthy funk and fruitiness. One formula was not enough to fully express the complexity of this belle of Brazil. 

Along with this new cachet, the roster of supporting ingredients and ways to enjoy cachaça have expanded, but the lively and fresh vibes largely aren’t budging. Weigh it down with dark elements at your own risk, because, in a way that would make Mr. Manilow proud, this spirit just wants to shimmy and shine in the bright lights. What better time than July to soak in such radiance? Join us as we’re Catching Up with Cachaça for some much needed R&R (reveling and refreshment)! Subscribe now through June 24th to get this box—it’s slated to begin to ship the week of July 5th.

When done right, a tiki drink is just about the tastiest way to tap into the far-out vibes of an idyllic island escape. And who better to lead this tour to daring destinations than the Caribbean connoisseur Shannon Mustipher? This original blend of hers begins with a new slick beach body for cachaça by way of a coconut oil fat wash, and from there, the hot-weather hits keep on coming: pineapple juice, a cordial inspired by tiki idol Donn Beach’s citrus and spices mixture known as Donn’s Mix (a legendary, essential ingredient of many tiki drinks, including the original 1934 Zombie recipe), and a splash of sharp and malty beer vinegar. Smell the sea air, grab a chair, and keep the sand out of your underwear when the Wavy Colada surfs over to your doorstep!

Shannon is a cocktail consultant, spirits educator, and the author of Tiki: Modern Tropical Cocktails. After launching a Caribbean rum-focused bar at Glady’s in 2014, she went on to found Women Who Tiki, a tropical cocktail–centric pop-up showcasing the talents of women working behind the bar. In 2020, Shannon was awarded the Tales of the Cocktail Foundation’s Pioneer Award and was inducted into the foundation’s Dame Hall of Fame.

After hours of catching rays, people watching, and getting to know your trusty beach vendors, you’ll look ahead to a night out on the town, pour this cocktail, and ask yourself, was it all just an Ipanema Daydream? Served elegantly up by Christopher Longoria, this coupe satisfies cachaça’s call for verdant companions with a dynamic jalapeño-mint-lime cordial and pops of celery seed salt on top, and keeps the summer reverie rolling with cooling watermelon juice. Think of this light and lustrous blend like your trendiest piece of day-to-night transition wear, brilliantly beaming along with the sun and perfectly suiting a sassy scene after it sets.

Christopher’s career behind the bar began in 2002 at the Korean soju hotspot RoHan Lounge in San Francisco. There he was recognized as the “Best Bartender to Confess Your Sins To” by the San Francisco Bay Guardian. He worked at the acclaimed Michelin star–rated restaurant Aziza as the creative bar lead, and as bar manager, he led the restaurant 1760 to become a popular cocktail destination in California. He is currently the bar director of Che Fico, which was named one of the top-10 restaurants in the country by Bon Appétit in 2018.

This old fashioned scores big thanks to a cocktail collaboration befitting of Brazil, the country with the most World Cup titles. The play-by-play is as follows: cachaça lover and Major League Soccer goalkeeper Stefan Frei brainstorms a bevy of potential tea elements to complement the spirit and passes it off to fellow Seattleite Adam Way, who applies his cocktail know-how to turn it into a reality. The resulting aromatic Give and Go fields a team of first-flush Darjeeling syrup and Earl Grey and chai bitters to showcase the mellow and earthy side of cachaça for a truly trophy-worthy summer night sipper!

Adam is a Seattle-based bartender and beverage consultant who has worked for various brands, bars, and restaurants, including Il Bistro, Foreign National, and Roquette. A passionate and creative bartender, Adam enjoys creating bespoke cocktails that open new worlds for his customers. When he’s not behind the bar, he’s out on the streets practicing his other passion: photography.

There it is, zooming down the Estrada Real along captivating coastlines, through bustling towns and lush landscapes, but we’re Catching Up with Cachaça to cool down while the dog days heat up. Sign up today to chill with these awesome cocktails that’ll bring the beach within reach!

The Shaker & Spoon Team

*not vegan: spiced citrus cordial contains honey
*potential allergens: Celery seed used for the celery seed salt was originally packaged in the same facility as peanuts, tree nuts, soy, and milk products.
*not gluten-free: beer vinegar

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