The theme has always fascinated me because I believe there are few products that incorporate the Brazilian spirit like cachaça and 'caipirinhas' - the wonderful cocktail indelibly associated to cachaça - that tastes like a hot summer evening on Ipanema Beach (just as much as a Pisco Sour transports me to Lima or a Mojito to Miami).
Jairo Silva is a gifted storyteller. His book takes you on a journey from the historic roots of sugar-cane processing during colonial days to the influence of cachaça in Brazilian folclore, music and popular literature.
The question is... why hasn't cachaça become a global alcoholic staple like vodka, whisky, (or the more Latin) rum or tequila?
Traditional brands like Pitú®, Ypióca®, Velho Barreiro® or Cachaça 51® have been exporting to Europe, North America and Japan for many years. And it has been interesting to see new brands starting off with a global mindset, like Sagatiba®, Leblon® or Cabana®. I was thrilled to see at the ANUGA showcase in Germany, the presence of a great local brand I admire called Armazem Viera® from hip Florianópolis and newcomer Gabriela® - an organic cachaça from Ribeirão Preto. Lots of excitement in the category but we'll have to wait and see how much these initiatives will help increase cachaça's profile on a global scale.
Meanwhile, as Brazilians would say... 'Saúde in 2008!'.