I was recently given a sneak peak at Solbeso, a spirit being distilled from fair trade fresh Peruvian cacao fruit. It’s the first spirit of its kind. It’s not a chocolate liqueur, but a clear spirit with a consistency like that of pisco. It is said to have the same the chemical benefits of dark chocolate, yet none of the sweetness or flavor. On tasting it, I smelled chocolate notes immediately as soon as I brought the glass to my nose.
When I arrived in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil I had been traveling for approximately 22 hours. Many of those hours I was rushing to catch a train, to catch a flight, and to catch another flight. I dropped my bags off at my hotel, the Marina All Suites in Leblon, and went straight to the Hotel Fasano’s Al Mare restaurant in Ipanema to begin my first lesson in Brazilian cachaça, which few realize is the third most consumed spirit in the world. I started off with a almost traditional caipirinha with a little bit of fresh passion fruit juice in it (with Leblon), Brazil’s signature cocktail that’s muddles cachaça with sugar and lime.
Until a trip to Mexico last week, I have never quite grasped the concept premium, sipping tequilas. While I’ve always dug margaritas in just about any flavor, well tequila shots have lead to far too many bad incidents that I tried to avoid “My Mexican Cousin” at all costs. With the number of 100% agave Reposados and Anejos now on the market in the United States growing daily, I knew I couldn’t avoid exploring the better end of the spectrum any longer. My first purchase, a Partida Reposado.
Singani is Bolivia’s answer to Pisco in Peru and Chile. The clear, 80 proof spirit is distilled from muscatel of Alexandria grapes in the southern city of Tarija and sometimes just over the border in northwest Argentina, however, its origins trace it back to the Valley of Cinti in Chuquisaca when Augustinian monasteries that had been in the region since the 1550’s began distilling wine.