Being raised in Venezuela, I used to celebrate National Rum Day on October 15th, the day of Santa Teresa de Avila, saint patroness of Ron Santa Teresa, the oldest Ron de Venezuela producer.
Because the owners of Ron Santa Teresa are a fond catholic family and Venezuela is a mostly catholic country, there is a mass in the Hacienda Santa Teresa on October 15th and the land, where sugar cane has been grown for more than 214 years, is blessed according to the catholic tradition.
Nostalgia apart, on Monday we went to the liquor store in Rancho Mirage ―where we are spending our last week of summer before the children go back to school―, trying to find some Ron de Venezuela to properly celebrate American National Rum Day.
Unfortunately, we couldn’t find any Venezuelan rum brand and came to our resort with a nice bottle of a very fine Brazilian cachaça. It had the name ‘Brazilian Rum’ printed in the bottle.
Cachaça, Brazil’s national spirit and the most distilled spirit in the world, is not rum for us in Venezuela. Like rum, cachaça is distilled from sugar cane, but unlike Ron de Venezuela it is not made of molasses, but from fermented sugar cane juice.
Photo: courtesy of Ron Santa Teresa
Sugar cane plantations, Hacienda Santa Teresa, 2010
The Cabana cachaça bottle that we bought was not only very elegant, but its price was similar to the one of a bottle of aged rum. The spirit was crystal clear. I researched and found out that this particular brand was a premium one, double distilled in small batches (pot still) and rested for nine months in jequitibá wood barrels.
That could be the reason they called it rum. However, I thought it would be nice to talk with Ed Hamilton, from Ministry of Rum, or another rum and cachaça expert to get illustrated…
In Venezuela for a rum to be call rum, it is required by law that the alcohol would be aged for at least two years. This is the reason most of the rums claiming to be rums cannot be sold as rum in Venezuela: they don’t have that minimum period of ageing.
|My children Andrés Ignacio and Tomás Eugenio
at the Hacienda Santa Teresa, 2006
I made this cooler: something in between the mojitos that I love so much and the caipirinha, Brazil’s national drink made out of cachaça. I named it Caipirito, it’s perfect when it´s hot! Here is the recipe. Cheers!
2 ounces of cachaça
2 ounces of fresh lemon juice
8 wedges of lemon
20 mint leaves
4 bar spoons of Splenda
In a tall glass muddle the lemon wedges with lemon juice, mint and Splenda. Add crushed ice and cachaça and stir well. Add more ice. Top off with soda. Garnish with a sprig of mint and a slice of lemon. Serve with a straw (not shown in the picture).
To friendly print the recipe click here.0