Archive for December, 2008

Paradise Lost Party Cocktails


Last weekend, our friends Sam (Digital City) and Duncan hired a gigantic country house in Devon for their birthday party. We turned up with a boatload of limes and cases of the good stuff to knock out some cocktails for his beautiful and immaculately attired guests.

Photo from Ollie

Cheers to Sam and Duncan for organising, and big props to Ollie who turned up to help us at the bar. To find out about our other events, parties and news, join up to our Facebook group or subscribe to this blog! Saúde!


Ollie, after you’ve done that pineapple caipirinha for that guy, could you maybe do a glasses run? We’re running out of highballs. If you also hold some hot girls and make finger pistols that would be useful too.
Photo from Ollie

Wikipedia: Catsuits can be worn by both genders, but are usually seen worn by females in a sexual fetish context, and despite the name, catsuits in general do not have feline characteristics.
Photo from Ollie

Abelha Cachaça is proud to be the world’s only cachaça to have been fake blessed the fake Catholic Church.

Photo from Ollie

Photo from Ollie


What does it mean to be Organic?

fazenda building in Bahia. Brasil

This is a post I’ve been meaning to do for ages, but then Joe McCanta (owner of Saf Restaurant, excellent cocktail place in Shoreditch, London) wrote a really good treatise about it on his blog. It’s about where the idea of organic spirits came from, and why it’s important.

The trend really started in the wine industry with many of the world’s finest vineyard owners realizing the negative effect that chemicals were having on their highly valuable land. Starting first with the ancient vineyards of France and Italy, word began spreading that maybe the ‘steroid-like’ pollutants that Agro-Chemical companies were pushing on farmers all over the world in the ‘80s and ‘90s were actually poisoning the land and making grapes that were weaker in flavor and lacking a certain subtlety or depth they once had.  At the same time as more and more vineyard owners who embraced natural methods began winning awards and vocalizing their success with bio-growing, the word ‘organic’ became associated with ‘fresher’, ‘more taste’, and just plain higher quality.

This gets to the heart of why we use organic methods - quality and taste. Essentially, most non-organic farming techniques are about shortcuts. They’re a quicker way to get more yield, but at the expense of other qualities, for example:

  • burning sugar cane fields prior to harvest, making it quicker (cheaper) to cut, but damaging the cane
  • using a laboratory single-strain yeast to ferment because it works quicker than a natural yeast, but it doesn’t produce the same flavours
  • using artificial fertilisers and pesticides to get a bigger crop, but a lower quality of cane

Organically producers are generally much more open about their methods, firstly because they’re scrutinised more by inspection bodies, and also because they’re proud to be using natural farming techniques that generate better produce.

This level of transparency is also really important to us - we want to be happy with every little detail about the ingredients, their provenance and the production process. At the end of the day though, the proof is in the taste, and we’re happy that Abelha is a naturally full-flavoured traditional ‘alembique’ cachaca. Try it and see!


MxMo XXXIV: Spice

Mixology Monday is a monthly online drink-related discussion. This month, it’s hosted by Craig at Tiki Drinks & Indigo Firmaments and the theme is ’spice’.


Victoria Park in December, just outside my house in London

In England, spice in December means the Christmas traditionals of cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves. As soon as winter hits and it starts to get dark at around 4pm, there is nothing else to do apart from stay in, make a big pot of mulled wine, and endeavour to keep it warm, spicy and topped up at all costs, until the daylight comes back in February. This winter though, I’ve been playing around a lot with cachaça.*

While everybody thinks of cachaça as a summer drink, I’ve been making some cachaça infusions based on traditional English Christmas flavours. The first was a pear and spice one:

Christmas Spice Pear Infused Cachaça
1 70cl bottle Abelha Cachaça Silver (unaged)
1 pear (conference)
half a cinnamon stick
2 teaspoons fresh grated ginger
10 clove seeds
half a teaspoon grated nutmeg
Skin and cut the pear, let all ingredients sit for 4 weeks in a jar or bottle at room temperature, shaking it every couple of days.

This came out really nicely and the sugar cane notes of the cachaça work really well with the ginger. It feels they make a warm blanket in your mouth which then gets covered in lovely spices.

I was talking to Jay at Oh Gosh! about old fashioned style serves, and he hinted me towards grapefruit bitters. They work really well with cachaça; I think it’s because they’re a little bit lime-esque, which is cachaça’s natural citrus partner. So here is a Christmas take on a cachaça Old Fashioned.

spiced pear cachaca old fashioned

Spiced Pear Cachaça Old Fashioned
25ml Pear and Spice infused cachaça
25ml Aged cachaça (e.g. Abelha Cachaça Gold - aged 3 years)
2 dashes Fee Brothers Grapefruit Bitters
1 dash Angostura Bitters
1 spoon of fine white sugar
a bit of orange peel

Put sugar and bitters in a tumbler, add ice and cachaça gradually, bit by bit, stirring all the time. Squeeze the oils out of the orange peel, (flame them if you wish), then stick a couple of clove seeds into the orange peel and use it as a garnish.

The freshness of the orange zest on the nose provides a nice little contrast to all the warm flavours of the spices. With the spice infused cachaça, the Angostura Bitters aren’t necessary, but the grapefruit ones do just enough to avoid sweetness overload. The litmus test - I was sharing it with my friend whilst we were bantering the evening away, and we both had real difficulty passing the drink back to each other. While I was drinking it, the dog put his head on my lap, and I felt utterly fulfilled inside. I would have happily died at that point and become re-incarnated as a pair of warm slippers or a smoking jacket.

the dog

Do you guys have minced pies in the US/around the world?

Photo by WallyG

Mince Pies - they’re little sweet short pastry pies filled with ‘mincemeat’ which in this case actually means a mix of raisins, apples, sultanas and fruit peel, normally steeped in brandy. In the UK, you have to eat them at Christmas, or else you get accused of being in Al-Qaeda and The Queen can shoot you. They’re something of an obsession to the British, and the best crowd pleasing infusion we made was a “Mince Pie Infused Cachaca”. It’s brilliant for a number of reasons.

Firstly, the words “pie-infused” before any spirit just don’t sound right. Also, in the UK, pie is a funny word. It’s a synonym for fat, as in “You’re looking a bit pie since you started going out with Tom?”, “Yeah, I’ve got love chub.” We also have a football chant of “Who ate all the pies?“, which is a standard thing for a mob to politely shout at someone who is circumferentially challenged.

abelha cachaca infusions minatures

The other reason is that it’s simply delicious. All the citrus peels in the mince are fantastic with the cachaça, but I think ‘mince meat’ would be an excellent infusion for a bourbon (not a scotch though) or rum too. Vodka would work too I guess, but I think the sweetness in spirits like bourbon, cachaça or rum really lift apart the flavours of all those annoying little granny fruits in the mince meat.

I made 2 versions, one using Delia Smith’s recipe, and one using a jar of pre-bought Tesco’s (Tesco is a large, aka, monopoly grocery chain in the UK) mincemeat. In both cases 300g of mince meat to one 70cl bottle of Abelha Cachaça Silver seemed right. I left these for about three and a half weeks, and they came out delicious.

Tesco Mincemeat

It’s a great thing to serve to people in a shot glass as they come in from the cold. If you wanted to make a cocktail with it, I would suggest the following, based on the fact that we normally eat mince pies with cream, but custard would be good too:

Brasilian Mince Pie with Custard
50ml Mince Pie infused spirit (bourbon, rum, cachaça etc)
20ml Fresh Apple juice
Half an egg yolk
Half a spoon of fine sugar
10ml single cream
Shake with ice, strain into a chilled martini glass, dust with fresh nutmeg and serve.

This one could use a little work. I have suddenly got to the end of the post and am thinking that no-one has a clue what mince pies are, but there you go. Holla if you love mince pies!!


* Disclosure: Me (Anthony) and my friend Hal have recently started our own independent brand of cachaça which we are importing to the UK. It’s an artisanal, copper pot still, small-batch cachaça, which also happens to be organic, and produced ethically. It’s called Abelha Cachaça, and this is our blog. But anyway I hope that noone minds that we we taking part in Mixology Monday as a brand and that you enjoy the reading about the drinks. I made them in my kitchen and I promise they are delicious.


Buy Abelha Cachaça in our Soho, Central London shop

I’m pleased to announce that we have now set up a new secret off license right store on Berwick Street, right in the center of Soho, London.

Berwick News and Food

Berwick News and Food, shortly to be renamed Berwick News, Food and Quality Cachaça, is now stocking Abelha Cachaça Silver and Gold. It’s an excellent shop and I suggest you go there on your lunchbreak to get a Mars bar, bag of Frazzles and a 70cl bottle of Abelha Cachaça. That’s what I have for lunch every day anyway.

Cachaça Abelha Silver £16.99 - excellent unaged cachaça with great nose, full flavour and a smooth dry finish. Great for caipirinhas and other cocktails.

Cachaça Abelha Gold £22.99 - a matchless cachaça that’s aged for three years in Brasilian Ash barrels to give it beautiful mellow flavour. For sipping neat, caipirinhas or cocktails, or in a shot glass with a dot of honey.

Click around our site to read more about our cachaça. Check the map too for other bars or restaurants that stock us.

Berwick News and Food
39 Berwick Street

Tel: 020 7287 8583

Open Monday to Saturday, 7.30am to 8pm
Nearest tubes: Tottenham Court Road (5 minutes walk) or Oxford Circus (5 minutes walk)


Cachaça, Cocktails and Cartels: Exclusive Preview Party


Saturday 29th November saw our exclusive pre-launch preview party at the Austin Gallery in Shoreditch. Thanks to everyone who came down, we were pretty packed at one point - a lot of limes and a few ping pong balls were harmed in the course of the evening. The first of many good cachaça-fueled nights to come. Special thanks to our bar staff Jess, Sarah and Emma, who did an excellent job keeping you all in drinks.


Props to Cookie’s crew (Cookie, Nicky, Ele, Sachi) and the Fun Bus (Molly, Tom, Selina, Anthony) who joint win the prizes for best crews as Naked Brasilians and Queen, respectively.


The whole night went perfectly, apart from my screw-up where I directed everyone to the wrong venue for the after-party, which caused a few groups of people to wander aimlessly up and down Hackney Road looking for a non-existent strip club. For those that did make it the after-party, may I apologise and say I have no idea what those naked guys were doing in the club (aside from fluffing themselves); they were definitely not from the Abelha Q4 marketing budget!

If you’d like to know about where and when our next party is, keep checking this blog, or sign up to our Facebook fan page by clicking here

IMG_0213 IMG_0227 IMG_0161

In the meantime, enjoy the pictures! Thanks (or perhaps no thanks) to Tanya and Ollie for photography.
Link to the pictures on Facebook - get tagging/untagging!
Link to the same pictures on Flickr

Tatiana Orlova


Abelha Cachaça now on sale at our pop-up retail location in Shoreditch!

For the first time ever, you can now buy a bottle of Abelha Cachaça!

We’ve set up a special deal with a secret off-license in the heart of Shoreditch, which will be selling Abelha Cachaça for this week only at an exclusive pre-launch price of:

£15 for Cachaça Abelha Silver - excellent unaged cachaca with great nose and a balanced body. Great for caipirinhas and other cocktails, (future RRP £16.99).

£20 for Cachaça Abelha Gold - a matchless cachaça that’s aged for three years in Brasilian Ash barrels to give it beautiful mellow flavour. For sipping neat, caipirinhas or cocktails, or in a shot glass with a dot of honey. (Future RRP 22.99).

It is the only place in the world where you can buy Abelha Cachaça, and is only running until Sunday 7th Decemeber, 8pm. After this week, our pop-up shop will move to another random location in London.

Check out the map on this link - the shop is in the Brick Lane area, so you could try a cocktail in one of our other listings like Saf on Curtain Road (truly excellent organic cocktails).

The shop is Anisha Cash and Carry,
83 Redchurch Street : London : E2 7DJ
Shoreditch, nearest tube Liverpool Street or Old Street
Open until at least 10pm on weekdays and Saturdays.
Until Sunday 7th November only