LUPEC Seattle Dismantling the Patriarchy…one drink at a time!

Ladies for the Preservation of Endangered Cocktails, Seattle Edition!
We try to meet up once a month in the area's best cocktail bars to try tasty libations made of gin, rum, tequila, whiskey, etc.
Occasionally we throw a party and use our power to raise money for local charities.

Follow the fun!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

December Meeting- Novo Fogo & Naga Lounge

Wow! 2010 has flown by and 2011 is upon us! For our last meeting of the year we were invited to Naga Lounge by Evan Martin and Dragos Axinte of Novo Fogo. LUPEC lady Jackie Moffett wrote a great article about her for her blog DrinkGal and is nice enough to let me republish it here. Be sure to add Jackie's site to your list of reads (p.s. she's got some gift ideas on the site to help with your holiday shopping!)

Thank you Jackie and!

What to do with a bottle of (delicious) Novo Fogo Brazilian Cachaca
by: DrinkGal

When most people think of cachaça, they think of Caipirinhas and very little else. As a bartender, for years we would have the same lonely bottle of cachaça sitting on the shelf for months, and when a patron would ask “what do you use that for?”  I would pull it down and mix up a Caipirinha, explaining its fame (the national alcoholic drink of Brazil) and that cachaça is a cousin of rum, made from sugar cane instead of molasses.

Most cachaça has a smoky, gasoline-like quality that would be considered charming to some in a caipirinha, but one would be hard pressed to find another drink where the spirit would add anything that a good rum couldn’t do better. For the life of me I didn’t have another recipe to offer anyone interested in the Brazilian rum cousin.

Enter Novo Fogo, a line of USDA certified organic, cachaça from Morretes, Brazil, now available stateside to thirsty American imbibers. Distilled in gorgeous setting on the edge of an idyllic rainforest in a zero waste distillery, and bottled in handmade bottles made of recycled glass, it has already put itself in a different class than most of its cohorts.

LUPEC Seattle (Ladies United in the Preservation of the Endangered Cocktail) teamed up with Novo Fogo for our December meeting, making this tasting possible. We got a chance to catch up with Dragos Axinte, one of the owners of the brand (the other is his lovely wife Emily), to learn why Novo Fogo is a cachaça of another breed.
Tasting Notes
Dragos started with explaining why indeed most cachaça tastes of gasoline. “Sugar cane often grows on the side of the highway,” he says. It is a product of its environment, and just like the sea air affects the flavor of an Islay Scotch, “the pollution permeates the sugar cane and leaves flavor behind.” Most sugar cane used for cachaça is harvested by burning the field, which also leaves a mark on the cane, explaining the intensely smoky qualities. “Throw a little engine oil flavor into the mix, brought forward by the tractors and machinery that pick up and process the cane, and you have the makings of a typical industrial cachaça.”

Novo Fogo has two types: Silver and Aged. We were lucky enough to try both, and here is how they tasted:

First of all, both were very smooth. Part of this, Dragos explains, is because Novo Fogo cuts instead of burns when they harvest the cane. Also missing? That gasoline flavor we were talking about earlier. The distillery is at the edge of the Floresta Atlântica rainforest (the other Brazilian rainforest, it seems), there is only one road in, and it is nowhere near the fields of cane.

The Silver ($28) is as you would expect, clear. It’s ‘rested’ for a year in stainless steel, so It is floral on the nose, with hints of banana and lime. It doesn’t linger on your palate, with a citrusy and slightly salty taste, caused by the sea breeze that moves up the mountain from the coast. It is, by far, the most pleasant of any cachaça we have ever tried, and while we didn’t try it in a caipirinha, we imagine it to be a lovely experience indeed.

The Aged ($35) is er, aged, in re-purposed bourbon casks for two years. Re-purposed is different than 'used' because it is pressure washed, sanded, and re-toasted. Because of that it has characteristics of a scotch or aged tequila, and yet its profile remains distinct in that it is more fruity and floral than either. As with scotch, the nose is saturated with vanilla and hints of toffee, and the dominating flavor we tasted was banana bread.
Our tasting was held at Chantanee in Bellevue, and therefore we had the mixology skills of Evan Martin at our disposal. What lucky girls we were! He served up 3 delicious cocktails for our meeting: the Negroni Doce (a twist on a classic Negoni), Brazilian Grog (a twist on a rum punch), and a Quentao (perfect for the holidays!).

Happy mixing!

Negroni Doce

1 oz. Novo Fogo Silver
1 oz. Aperol
1 oz. Rose Vermouth
2 dashes Bittermen's Grapefruit bitters

Stir all ingredients over ice, strain into coupe glass. Garnish with grapefruit zest.

Brazilian Grog

2 oz. Novo Fogo Gold
0.66 oz. Grog Mix (equal parts Allspice Dram, Cointreau, and Honey Syrup)
0.5 oz lime
1 oz Orange
3 dashes coffee tincture

Shake briefly, strain over crushed ice in old fashioned glass. Garnish with an orange slice.

(This one was by far our favorite! Talk about a delicious dram...)

Quentao (hot Brazilian punch)

1.5 oz. Novo Fogo Gold
0.5 oz. Ginger Syrup
6 oz. Mulled Cider (hot)
cinnamon stick garnish

Stir together gently. Serve in glassware that won't burn your fingers!

Cheers! Or as they say in Brazil, Saude!


For more information on LUPEC Seattle:

For more information about Novo Fogo:

And finally, for more information about Chantanee, Bellevue:

Thanks again to Jackie for letting me republish this and thanks to all of you for supporting LUPEC Seattle. If you have a favorite meeting memory over the last year feel free to post it in the comments section. Additionally if there is a place or a subject you’d like to see in 2011 put that in there too.

Happy Holidays and Happy New Year!!

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