The Tasting Panel magazine

Tasting Panel October 2010

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Page 68 of 96

WHAT WE’RE DRINKING Doing Double Duty E Te’Kila mixologist Brady Weise (right) and Chef Robert Luna have found that Leblon cachaça is the ideal spirit behind the stick and in the fire. Here, they pair the Daisy de Janerio and the Daiquiri de Melon with a red snapper ceviche. Leblon is the star in all three. LEBLON CACHAÇA IS AS AT HOME IN THE KITCHEN AS BEHIND THE BAR story and photo by Rachel Burkons very day in Los Angeles, the sidewalk in front of tourist mecca Grauman’s Chinese Theatre is crawling with impersonators offering passersby their best Superman brawn or their sultriest Marilyn Monroe pout. But not every- thing’s fake in Hollywood, and mere blocks away, new hotspot Te’Kila is out to prove that when it comes to crafting food and cocktails, sometimes a natural star snags the spotlight. Such has been the case with Leblon cachaça, the super- premium sugarcane spirit that has found its way into signature drinks behind the bar as well as flavorful dishes pouring from the kitchens. “Leblon is really interesting to work with because it has a very distinct minerality that lends itself to being mixed and layered and used with different ingredients,” explains Mixologist Brady Weise, who loves the restaurant’s 100-plus tequila selection, but looks at Leblon as an opportunity to really play with flavors. This sentiment is reflected in the kitchen as well, where Chef Robert Luna has found that when cooking Latin food, it’s wise to think outside of tequila. “Cooking with cachaça is so easy,” Luna says, pointing to the colorful red snapper ceviche in front of him, prepared with fresh lime and Leblon. “It is so versatile, and unlike tequila, it won’t distort flavors. Tequila is too heavy to cook with, and leaves you with a burn, but cachaça is so clean that it’s a natural flavoring with seafood.” Of course, in Hollywood, it’s also all about exotic appeal, a trait Leblon’s got in spades. “People come in from all over the world and ask me to make them a drink with something interesting,” shares Weise. “Leblon is my go-to, and people love it.” Samba on Wheels If you live in any metropolitan area, you know that the hottest culinary trend these days comes on four wheels: gourmet food trucks. It’s about time the spirits world entered this mobile arena, and answering the call is Leblon cachaça, which has been rolling its Caipi-Mobile through Los Angeles, Miami and New York. The Caipi-Mobile brings the flavor of Brazil to private parties, as well as streetside in front of restaurants and bars, where it dispenses a non-alcoholic Caipirinha-flavored sorbet topped with fresh cane juice. But don’t worry, those bars this truck’s parked in front of are partici- pating in the brand’s Caipi Hours, and will top you off with the good stuff. 68 / the tasting panel / october 2010

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