The cachaça samba

While rum is da man in Central & South America, cachaça is big chief in Brazil. It’s a ol skool clear liquor produced from good ol’ sugarcane juice.

Hmmmm. Gives me ideas.

I did try to ferment sugarcane juice once but it failed coz the container wasn’t airtight. Will definitely retry soon.

Met up with Boozepimp Michelle from TWE & mixologist Ben Ng at Celsius, a stylish new bar downtown to get to know cachaça better (pronounced ka-SHAH-sa).

Yet more new stuff in town

Its similar to rum in terms of the raw product source, but rum uses sugar cane molasses, produced by boiling the juice until it turns to solids (crystals). Cachaça is made by fermenting and distilling fresh-pressed cane juice, thus it retains an intense earthy aroma. It’s used mostly for cocktails, the most popular being the world-famous Caipirinha (cachaça, lime juice, sugar), one of my faves.

If you’ve seen a red/white label bottle with a large “51” on it sitting behind bars, that’s cachaça, but a different brand, Cachaça 51.

There are more than 5,000 cachaça brands in Brazil, the majority known as a ‘poor man’s drink’, as its dirt cheap. 99% consumed domestically. But these days, better quality (and more costly) options are available. It’s Brazil’s national drink.

Maybe we should give some to our national team so they play better football.

Clear as water

Like capoeira, it’s got a long history (five centuries), but is only now becoming popular outside Brazil. Plantation owners used to give it to their slaves to make ’em work harder. Nice incentive.

One of them that TWE has brought in from Brazil is Sagatiba, which has the honour as the world’s first premium cachaça.

Had a sampling of it in several Caipirinha cocktails at Celsius, but of course a neat shot first.

It really grabs you with its strong flavours. I got some earthy vanilla hit. Its ABV is 38%.

Soon there was a Caipirinha feast goin down.

Pomegrenate Caipirinha

Spicy Mango Caipirinha

Mangosteen Caipirinha

A Cucumber Caipirinha

They’re all fruity, refreshing drinks. All that’s missing is a beach. You could add more liquor to give it some bite/resistance.

Then Ben brought out some eggs.

What's cookin?

Am not a fan of egg in cocktails, but he created a very drinkable and almost smoothie-like drink – Maracuja Sour which is from Peru, but Ben replaced pisco with cachaça.

Koktel tarik

Its other ingredients are passion fruit juice and sugar syrup.


The final one’s my favourite, a Strawberry Grapefruit Batida. A Batida is a popular cocktail in Brazil that combines cachaça with fruit juices, and sometimes coconut milk. I could drink this all day.

The Sagatiba Pura is available now at TWE (map) for about $130, as well as bars like Celsius, Traders Hotel, Elixir, Laundry, ReggaeBar, Werner’s and Friday’s. There are plans to soon bring in the top-shit premium Sagatiba Velha, which is aged in oak barrels. Lookin forward to that!


Brain damage: 7.5/10

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