The Tasting Panel magazine

May 2015

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may 2015  /  the tasting panel  /  79 Back in bourbon country, Zachary found his Brazilian affair hard to shake: "I desperately wanted to share this exotic new thing, but found that cachaça was considerably more difficult to come by than I'd anticipated." With love turning to longing, he realized that there was a cachaça- shaped void in the spirit market, and when Eduardo and Jordan moved to Kentucky, he knew he had an opportunity to bring cachaça to Kentucky—and beyond. "Eduardo and I partnered to share his country's native spirit with U.S. consumers, and Espirito XVI Cachaça was born," continues Zachary, who knew that he'd need to explore additional spirit categories in order for his fledgling spirit company, Ambrabev, to flourish. "Our goal for the company was to share the spirit of Brazil, literally and figuratively," he explains, "and we both felt that cachaça alone wasn't able to capture the complexity of what Brazil has to offer in the spirits arena. Brazil has long been one of the world's largest producers of sugarcane, and we knew that when done well, this sugar-rich member of the grass family was capable of producing absolutely outstanding vodkas, so we decided to also pursue the development of a Brazilian vodka—this is how Boteco Vodka was born." With two Brazilian-inspired spirits at the ready, Zachary and Eduardo set out to bring both Espirito XVI and Boteco to U.S. consumers. "Espirito XVI Cachaça is focused on changing people's perceptions of what a cachaça is, and hopefully encouraging people to unlock the category's true potential," notes Zachary. "For is, this meant creating cachaça that was authentic but approachable for American palates, so it is double-distilled in a traditional alembic copper pot still using locally sourced sugarcane and private mountain spring water from a government-protected rain- forest preserve. These elements allow us to create a truly unique spirit that stays true to its roots while eliminating some of the less appealing elements—pungent nose, harsh burn, etc.—that some of the more industrial cachaças on the market are known for." The result is a remarkably smooth cachaça that effort- lessly balances layers of honey and almond, making it a true standout—so much so that the brand took home a Gold Medal at this year's San Francisco World Spirits Competition and Double Gold at the 72nd annual WSWA convention. With Boteco, on the other hand, Zachary and Eduardo knew that the American consumer had already been vodka-initiated, but that there was an opportunity to explore the Brazilian angle with exotic flavors in addition to its sugarcane base, whose gentle body and subtly sweet finish won it a "Brazilian Vodka of the Year" award. "When we began developing Boteco Lime and Boteco Berry, we were looking for an opportunity to share an even broader spectrum of the diversity found in Brazilian spirits, cuisine and culture," says Zachary. Adding a final touch of modern Brazilian flair, both brands offer striking packaging, and with line extensions in the works for both, the future for this Brazil-by-way- of-bourbon-country company is creating a perfect cross- cultural love affair. Looking for further proof? "We have some of our cachaça resting in bourbon barrels right now, and hope to release a bourbon barrel–aged cachaça in the near future," comments Zachary. "Our mission has always been to enhance the American drinking experience through our portfolio of exquisitely crafted Brazilian spirits, so we are always looking to innovate and expand." Check your preconceptions at the door if you head into Jane Barleycorn's Market and Bar in Danville, KY: "One of the reasons I opened this restaurant here was to cater to a largely underserved community of intelligent and cultured individuals that had, for the most part, been overlooked by restaurateurs and bar owners," explains Mary Robin Spoonamore, owner and mixologist at the restaurant. "Boteco Vodka and Espirito XVI Cachaça, like the people from com- munities such as these, are remarkably refined and possess extraordinary potential." A supporter of both brands since their inception, Spoonamore and Jane Barleycorn aren't afraid to bring new spirits to the forefront: "Bourbon country is the perfect place to showcase any well-crafted spirit, regardless of origin or flavor profile. Boteco Vodka and Espirito XVI Cachaça may be imported from Brazil, but they are well received in a place like Kentucky because, like many of our bourbons, they are crafted with the same love, passion and overwhelming rever- ence for tradition and authenticity." Espirito XVI Caipirinha ◗ 2 oz. Espirito XVI Cachaça ◗ ½ oz. fresh lime juice ◗ 1 ½ tbs. sugar ◗ Hand-crushed ice At Jane Barleycorn's in Danville, KY, bartender Steele Medaris makes an Espirito XVI Caipirinha.

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