Cachaça is Brazil’s national spirit, and although it’s not as popular as other alcohols in the UK, worldwide it’s the third most consumed type of spirit, behind only vodka and rum. Tomorrow (12 June) marks International Cachaça Day, a commemoration of the day in 1744 when Portugal, then coloniser of Brazil, temporarily banned the stuff. It’s now an excuse for a bit of a party and an excellent opportunity to get to know this spirit a little better. Here’s where to go to do just that…
The latest in a line-up of pop-up bars in Soho’s Archer Street venue, Barzinho is unashamedly cashing in on London’s World Cup-induced interest in all things Brazilian. Decked out like a ramshackle beach house complete with tin roof and graffiti, the drinks list completes the Latin American package. For something a bit different, try The Redeemer made with cachaça infused with açai berries, campari infused with goji berries, passionfruit and lime. Before drinking, you’ll be given a miracle fruit pill to suck on, enhancing the taste of the cocktail (theoretically, at least) by making it taste sweeter.
This Chalk Farm bar and restaurant blends Caribbean and Brazilian influences in both its food and drink offering, as well as its live music that plays most nights towards the end of the week. There’s an impressive collection of both rums and cachaças on the back-bar and as much fun as busy weekend nights can be, we’d recommend popping in when it’s quieter if you want to try them out.
The cocktails at this cheesy Shoreditch bar tend to come adorned with a little too much garnish for our liking, but what lies beneath is pretty decent — especially when there’s cachaça involved. Twists on the classic caipirinha include a berry and an orange version, while a Brazilian Old Fashioned made with cachaça in place of whisky is a highlight.
As well as circus performances every Wednesday night and live music the rest of the time, this restaurant turned bar turned nightclub in Holborn also does a neat line in cachaça cocktails. The Tropical Samba is a good example of what’s on offer: the spirit is blended with cherry liqueur, fresh lime and pineapple juice for a refreshing and easy drinking thirst quencher that doesn’t take itself too seriously. It’s open until 2.30am from Wednesday to Saturday, and fairly authentic Brazilian food is also available for the earlier part of the evenings.
Made In Brasil
Bringing a bit of Rio’s carnival to Camden, Made In Brasil channels a bustling good-time vibe as it pours out the Caipirinhas. There are twelve of them on the menu, ranging from fruity to spicy, along with regularly changing specials. Other cachaça-based drinks include traditional Brazilian cocktails Paulista, Capeta and Batida. The latter blends cachaça with condensed milk and a choice of fruit.
You’ll also find good measures of cachaça in most of these Brazilian restaurants. And after trying a bit of it, you’ll be grateful of some meaty mains, too.
Also in the series:
London’s Best Bars… For Drinking Gin
London’s Best Bars… For Drinking Whisky
London’s Best Bars… For Drinking Rum
London’s Best Bars… For Drinking Tequila & Mezcal
London’s Best Bars… For Affordable Fizz