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How do you make a great cocktail? Mixologists are in constant migration, searching, testing, tasting, and celebrating. There are an infinite number of combinations and techniques. It’s tough to say something is the best, the ultimate.

So, on that scale of 1-10, I’m going to call this a 9.99. Maybe even better. Rather than use multiple spirits or shrubs or bitters, I tend to make complex cocktails by using a number of fruit or herb ingredients. And then I add one layer of one interesting spirit.

Here the 1-2-3 refers to 1 mango, the juice of 2 lemons, and 3 very ripe bananas. Add some Brazilian cachaça, some simple syrup for sweetness, and you are ready to rocket.

Yes, rocket. When Brazil launches their first astronaut, the fuel will be cachaça. Cachaça is peer of rum and very closely related. It’s the most popular alcoholic beverage in Brazil and famous, of course for its use in the caipirinha, where limes are muddled with sugar, cachaça is added and the simple drink is consumed en masse.

Sugar cane came to Brazil thanks to the Portuguese whose sugar production on the Madeira Islands shifted to Brazil with more land, better climate, cheaper labor.

What’s the difference between rum and cachaça? Rum is made from molasses, itself a by‑product from refined cane juice. That juice is boiled to extract sugar crystals. The molasses is the leftover, which mankind happily learned to convert to rum. Cachaça is made even more simply. It comes from the original sugar cane juice that is first fermented and then distilled.

Like rum, cachaça comes into two versions: fresh and white, aged in barrels and dark. Only 1% of the 1.3 billion liters of cachaça is exported from Brazil, and most of that to Germany. I’ve never seen a bottle dark, aged cachaça on US store shelves, but I will look.

Fresh, clean, white cachaça is perfect in this cocktail. There is some much fruit flavor, that the cachaça punch is muted. But, don’t kid yourself. The punch is still there. And “punch” is a good word here. Is this really a punch or a cocktail? Or, does it even matter. One sip, and you won’t care.

Brian’s Tropical 1-2-3 Delight

Yield: 4 cocktails


  • 1 mango, peeled and diced
  • Juice of 2 lemons
  • 3 ripe bananas, peeled
  • 5 ounces simple syrup
  • 5 ounces cachaça
  • 12+ ice cubes


Put all the ingredients, except the ice cubes, in your blender. Blend until smooth, then add the ice cubes to achieve the consistency and coldness you desire.

Source: Inspired by Epicurious

Photo Information [top]: Canon T2i, EFS 60mm Macro Lens, F/4.5 for1/60th second at ISO‑800

Photo Information [bottom]: Canon T2i, EFS 60mm Macro Lens, F/4.5 for1/50th second at ISO‑1000