Published on June 12th, 2014 | by Adrienne


Spirit Spotlight: Avuá Cachaça

I’ve been meaning to tell you about Avuá Cachaça for awhile now. But I got distracted drinking it, and one thing leads to another. Happily, however, this weekend’s World Cup kick off in Brazil is the perfect time to introduce and convert you to this delicious product.

Cachaça is the national spirit of Brazil and is made from fresh sugar cane juice, which makes it similar to rum (usually made from molasses), and especially rhum agricole (also made from fresh cane juice on the French island of Martinique). Most cachaca is unaged (Avuá’s is called Prata) but it can also be aged like Avuá Amburana, which is named after the native Brazilian wood used to make the barrels. Cachaça is best known for its role in the classic Brazilian Caipirinha – which is surely an excellent drink, and perfect on a beach in the afternoon – but great versions like these are delicious even without lots of sugar, lime & mint and deserve a spot on the bar, and in your cocktails, alongside the best of them.

Avuá Prata is packed with flavors of fresh cut grass and lots of tropical fruit like mango, guava and pineapple. Justin Noel, a partner in Avuá and in Sweetwater Social describes it as somewhere between white rum and blanco tequila. Use it in place of white spirits in a Negroni, a Daiquiri, or a Paloma.

Avuá Amburana has some of the same fruit, but with a more dried character and with added soft, warm spice like cinnamon and cassia bark. Since it’s aged, you can use it in brown spirit cocktails like the Old Fashioned (see below) or the Manhattan. Because it is a bit more delicate than whiskey, however, you might want to scale back on the vermouth so as not to overpower all that delicious flavor.

The story behind Avuá is one that combines the rich heritage of traditional Brazilian cachaça with the energy and entrepreneurial spirit of New York. A few years ago, Dipsology friends Nate and Pete discovered cachaça in Brazil and, disappointed in the options then available in the US, decided to bring us the good stuff. Working with one of Brazil’s only female distillers, they source single-estate sugarcane from a sustainable, family-owned farm. We think the results speak for themselves.

Where to Drink Avuá:

Many great cocktail bars around New York stock Avuá and make some pretty damn fine cocktails with it.  Some of our favorites are Milk & Honey, Sweetwater Social, Ba’sik, Peacock Alley, Mother’s Ruin and Death & Co.  There are also lots of fun Avuá events going on during the World Cup over the next month — check that out here.

Some Fun Home Recipes:

Refreshing & Fruity: Strawberry Cachaça Shake

1 oz Avuá Amburana (or Prata)
3/4 lime juice
3/4 simple syrup (1:1 ratio)
2 dashes Peychaud’s Bitters
1 strawberry

Muddle all ingredients in a shaker, add ice and shake.  Double strain into a cocktail coupe, garnish with a strawberry slice.
Milk & Honey

Dark & Boozy: Amburana Old Fashioned

2 oz Avuá Amburana
1/4 oz simple syrup (1:1 ratio)
5 dashes Angostura bitters

Stir ingredients with ice until chilled, then strain into a rocks glass with fresh ice.
-Michael Neff, Ward III

Summer Day Drinking: Avuá Paloma

2 oz Avuá Prata
1/2 oz lime juice
2 oz grapefruit juice

Build in a Collins glass over ice, top with club soda & stir. Garnish with a lime or grapefruit wedge.
-Justin Noel, Sweetwater Social 

Sophisticated Sipping: Pan Am

2 oz Avuá Amburana
1/2 oz Triple Sec
1/4 oz Dry Vermouth

Stir with ice until chilled, strain into a rocks glass with ice. Garnish with an orange twist.
-Cervantes Ramirez, Little Branch 

Get more Avuá cocktail recipes here.

Pan Am

The Pan Am at Milk & Honey


All photos courtesy of Avuá Cachaça


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About the Author

Adrienne is one of the co-founders of Dipsology. When she’s not drinking, sleeping & breathing cocktails, she can be found in Napa, drinking wine instead. You can read about her non-cocktail adventures on her blog and follow her @alstillman.

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