You've heard of the Caipirinha, but have you tasted Brazil's other signature cocktail? Let me introduce you to the delicious Batida, another drink that features the country's cachaca mixed with fruit. It is brilliant, delicious and a delight for summer parties.
What is a Batida?
The Batida (ba-chee-dah) is a popular drink in Brazil. It is most often made with cachaca, fruit, milk and sugar. Batidas can be blended or shaken and served over crushed ice.
Passionfruit is one of the most popular Batida flavors and in Portuguese it is called batida de maracuja. This recipe from Novo Fogo Cachaca is a fantastic introduction to the delicious taste of the Batida and is very easy to make.
Novo Fogo Cachaca's Batida Recipe
For those unfamiliar with cachaça, it is a rum from Brazil that is made from pure sugar cane rather than molasses. Novo Fogo is one of the most interesting brands I've encountered yet and there is more on their portfolio below the recipe.
This Batida recipe is simple. It pairs Novo Fogo's fine cachaças with passionfruit syrup so there's no need to wait for passionfruit season or mess around with the fruit's pulp. This is a drink you can enjoy year-round and the coconut milk sets it off in smoothie-cream perfection.
Like all Batidas, you can choose to blend or shake it depending on your mood.
Shaken: Shake all ingredients in a cocktail shaker with crushed ice. Pour everything into a glass to serve.
(Recipe from Novo Fogo Cachaca)
Novo Fogo Cachaça: A Truly Impressive Brand
It has not been that long since cachaça started to break out of Brazil and meet the rest of the world's drinkers. Though it has always been around, it is only in the last decade or so that cachaça became a regular fixture in the bar and its reach is continuing to grow.
Many cachaças that have been imported to the United States are good, but only a few are truly impressive. I am going to add Novo Fogo to that 'What's Hot in Cachaça' list because this is one of the few times I've been truly enamoured with cachaça outside a Caipirinha.
What Makes Novo Fogo Special?
A Cachaça You Can Feel Good About
There are many things to enjoy about Novo Fogo, but let's begin with the details about its production. The distillery's estate is in southern Brazil. It borders mountains and rainforests and they are very particular about their impact on the fragile environment around them.
Like all cachaças, Novo Fogo is produced from fresh sugarcane. In fact, this one's so fresh that it is pressed within two hours of cutting in the fields. After juicing, the stalks are dried and burned as fuel to operate the distillation process.
Fun Fact: The Novo Fogo distillery is zero-waste and gravity-fed. The bottles are recycled as well.
The cachaça is also certified organic by the USDA. Drinkers with special diets will be delighted to know that Novo Fogo is gluten-free and vegan as well.
But How Does Novo Fogo Taste?
That's the big question, isn't it? Time and time again a liquor brand can tout a bunch of good practices, only to fall flat when it comes to the actual taste. Happily, Novo Fogo is not one that will let you down.
These hand-crafted, small-batch cachaças are spectacular. They quickly became my new favorite and the portfolio is so diverse that it's going to be hard to get bored with this brand anytime soon.
The Novo Fogo Cachaça Portfolio
When I first heard about Novo Fogo, it was the wood that caught my attention. This cachaça brand is doing some serious experimentation with their barrels and it is a very fun portfolio to sip your way through.
I had the opportunity to taste Silver, Tanager and Single-Barrel #87 recently and have equally high expectations for the rest of the portfolio. Here's a rundown of their expressions as of 2016...
Silver Cachaça - Tasted
The brand's flagship expression, Silver is similar to the cachaça that most drinkers know. This is the cachaça you'll want for your fresh fruit Caipirinhas and it created one of the best I've had in years.
- An aroma marked with bananas. Sweet citrus and floral notes on the palate. Exceptionally smooth with a clean finish.
- Rested for 1 year in "chemically-inert stainless steel."
- 40% alcohol by volume (80 proof)
- Retails for around $30/750ml bottle
One step away from Silver, Chameleon is a cachaça expression that is ever-so-slightly aged. That should bring out a bit of the spice that is noticeable in the older bottlings while retaining the clean cachaça mixability of the unaged spirit.
It may even be a better choice for some cocktails and is supposed to be excellent in aperitifs.
- Aged for 1 year in used American oak barrels.
- 43% alcohol by volume (86 proof)
- Retails for around $33/750ml bottle
Banana is the signature taste in most of Novo Fogo's cachaças. When we go from the Silver to the Barrel-Aged that aspect takes on the characteristic of fresh-baked banana bread.
You can sip or mix this cachaça, it should be fantastic either way.
- Aged for 2-3 years in American oak barrels that have been cleaned up and re-toasted.
- 40% alcohol by volume (80 proof)
- Retails for around $35/750ml bottle
Tanager Cachaça - Tasted
Zebrawood is the intriguing element of this cachaça and it quickly became my personal favorite among the three expressions in my tasting. This is one of the few cachaças available in the U.S. that is aged in two types of wood and the results are impressive.
I took the suggestion of trying it in a Sazerac and it was spectacular. Though decidedly different, it was a fun twist and I did not find myself missing the whiskey. Mix or sip it straight, you'll find this to be a new cachaça experience at a great price!
- Sweet tropical fruits mixed with earthy tones in the nose. The palate has a sweetened spice and cinnamon notes with more fruits. Finishes quick and clean with a great snap of spice right at the end.
- Aged in oak and arariba (zebrawood) barrels.
- 42% alcohol by volume
- Retails for around $35/750ml bottle
Single-Barrel Cachaça - Tasted Barrel 84
If you have not figured it out yet, Novo Fogo loves to play with their barrels and the quality of their aged cachaças proves that they're on the right track. According to the brand, every now and then they get a special barrel that produces some exceptional cachaça and they pull these for release in their Single-Barrel expressions.
Each barrel produces a unique cachaça. I tasted Barrel 84 (47% ABV, unknown price) and stepped back from the bar claiming it to be the cognac of spiced rum. It is as if someone duplicated all of the spices of a quality spiced rum and gave it a fine brandy finish. I'm not a spiced rum fan, so this was a surprising correlation. If all spiced rum tasted like that, I'd be drinking little else.
Likewise, I've seen a report about Barrel 105 (42% ABV, $250/bottle). In these tasting notes, it is compared to a tropical version of Scotch and Irish whiskey. Of course, only 30 bottles were released so only a lucky few get to experience that!
This is the beauty of Novo Fogo's Single-Barrel collection; you never know what you're getting! Each release is aged for 5 years in oak, but each barrel's individual characteristics transforms the spirit inside. It's a fascinating taste of the aging process.
Each Single-Barrel release is given its own value and bottles range from $50-150 (though 105 was obviously very special).
- Aged in a single barrel for 5 years.
- 41-48% alcohol by volume (82-96 proof)
- Retail for $50-150/750ml bottle
Disclosure: Review samples were provided by the manufacturer.