Cachaça Caipirinhas & Conversation: Imbibing with CuCa Fresca owner, Phoenix-Kelly Rappa


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We're back recording at one of our favorite spots, Ibizia Kitchen in Chappaqua, NY. Joining us is special guest AND friend, Phoenix-Kelly Rappa. Phoenix is co-owner of Cuca Fresca cachaça who gave us a bit of an education on Brazils national spirit. Included in this lesson, our teacher crafted a perfect passion fruit Caipirinha topped with Chinola Passion Fruit Liqueur. We then proceeded to "nosh" on slow-cooked, beef cheek tapas, imbibe and chat...

THE STORY Created by a fourth-generation cachaça-making family, Cuca Fresca is made using age-old methods passed down for almost a century. The entire process is done at our distillery located in the heart of Minas Gerais, the world’s most famous cachaça-producing region. “Cuca Fresca”, which literally translates to “cool head” and is a Brazilian expression meaning “to be cool” or “have a chill vibe.”

THEY HAVE A "GREEN" THUMB Master distillers know that to make the world’s best cachaça, you must begin with superior quality cane. At the distillery, the soil and weather combine to create the ideal growing conditions for cane. All of the sugarcane is grown without synthetic pesticides or fertilizers, which have a serious long-term impact on the environment. Our fermentation and distillation process is also completely natural and Cuca Fresca Cachaça is USDA-certified organic.

THEY USE ONLY THE BEST INGREDIENTS All of their sugarcane is closely monitored and harvested at its peak, using the traditional methods of cutting-by-hand, and never burnt during harvests. While this is a more time-consuming method of harvesting, it is essential to maintain the delicate balance and sweetness of the cane.

ARTISANAL PROCESS After fermentation, each batch of Cuca Fresca is double-distilled in traditional copper alambique stills. These small-batch artisanal methods of distillation produce a spirit that is smoother and more refined than other cachaças, which are typically mass produced using a column distillation process.

AGED TO PERFECTION After each batch of Cuca Fresca is double-distilled, it is put in barrels to age. This aging process makes the cachaça even smoother and adds complexity. Our Cuca Fresca Prata is aged for one year in oak, resulting in a premium silver cachaça that has been called the “ideal slate for cocktail creativity.” Our Cuca Fresca Ouro is aged for four years in Jequitiba, a native Brazilian wood, resulting in a gold cachaça that is perfect for sipping neat or on the rocks, as well as in ultra-premium cocktails.

The Perfect Passion Fruit Caipirinha


Cut lime in half lengthwise. Carefully cut out white-pith centerline and transfer to a cocktail shaker. Add sugar and muddle hard to release the lime's juice and essential oils. Add Cuca Fresca cachaça and 4–5 ice cubes. Cover cocktail shaker and shake vigorously for 10 seconds. Pour into a glass (preferably a tumbler or an old-fashioned or rocks glass), garnish with fresh basil and chili pepper, top with Chinola and serve. Imbibe.

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