Sugar Cane and Seaweed
Get into good spirits
ARTISAN ORGANIC SPIRITS
About 98% of Brazil’s famous spirit Cachaca is drunk within the country, and much of what is exported is of ‘industrial’ grade. Abelha Organic Silver Cachaça is different and starts life in Bahia, Northern Brazil, where a collective of small-holding farmers grow sugar cane 100% organically on highland sandy soils. The cane is processed within 24 hours of being cut to ensure freshness, and then fermented using yeast found growing naturally on green sugar cane. From here the fermented cachaça is distilled in small batches in a traditional copper still. Only the heart or ‘curacao’, a small fraction of the distillate, is kept to ensure the highest possible quality.
The resulting spirit is rested (descansada) for 6 months in steel tanks and then cut with water from deep natural aquifer under the farm which has the perfect pH acidity and is totally unpolluted. The result is a naturally full-flavoured, well-balanced cachaça.
The Responsible Trading Company (RTC), who produce Abelha Cachaça, share with the growers their values and organic teaching methods to help them get the best from their crops. The farm workers who make Abelha are paid a good wage, and are guaranteed a fair price for their cane. This makes for happier farmers and a better quality of sugar cane.
It’s normal for non-organic farmers in Brazil to burn sugar cane fields, making them easier to harvest as it removes leaves and gets rid of snakes and spiders. Abelha do not use this process and have not condoned burning spiders to death since they were 9 years old! Burning also causes serious air pollution problems in some areas, but for a cane to qualify as organic (like ours), it must not be burnt prior to harvest.
Full and fruity with a honeyed edge, and nuances of fresh sugar cane, it’s extremely smooth and has a dry finish making it perfect for the famous ‘Caipirinha’ cocktail.
Hal Stockley co-founder of RTC and Abelha
“We are very happy to be working with Vintage Roots and help spread the word on quality wines and spirits that are also organic. Try making a Caipirinha and adding other fresh fruits to the standard recipe for variation”
1/2 Lime cut into 4 segments
2 bar spoons or teaspoons of white caster sugar
50 ml Abelha Organic Cachaça
METHOD: Choose a thick stout glass, and Muddle the lime and sugar together, fill the glass three quarters full with plenty of crushed or cracked ice, then add the Abelha Organic Cachaça and stir. Straw in or drink from the glass, it’s easy and delicious.
DA MHILE SEAWEED GIN
Da Mhile Distillery is based in Cerdigion, Wales and is the brainchild of John Savage-Onstwedder, a local farmer who also makes the very delicious Caws Teifi Cheese. As John says “One cannot survive in rural Wales by producing mediocrity, and the pursuit of excellence is written into our DNA, with every product we make at Da Mhile needing to be of the highest quality and unique.”
Small batch distilling is quite an art, it’s about skill and craftsmanship and John (who has now passed knowledge onto his son John James who has a PHd in distilling, and is believed to be the youngest distillery manager at 29) has learnt much from his time working in Scotland with some top end whiskies. The recent new seaweed gin was developed to complement seafoods, and for its production Da Mhile have reduced the number of botanicals from their small batch gin, and introduced some that are commonly associated with seafood, mixing herbs and spices in with the spirit. It was then infused for three weeks with fresh seaweed from the local Newquay coast, which adds a slight green hue. Depending on the season there will be a slight variation in colour and flavour of the seaweed, making every batch unique.
Innovative and unique, the aromas offer a heady mixture of vibrant fennel, lemon thyme, orange zest and cardamom and the follow through on the palate is warming, fruity and full with cinnamon spice, a waft of juniper and mint. Truly exotic gin that also performs very well with the addition of tonic
(Fever Tree recommended) or in cocktails.
Da Mhile also encourage its use in cooking, and has recently been served with Menai oysters, mussels and Penclawdd cockles in local welsh restaurants.