Archive for the ‘Products’ Category

A Raw Deal

Pepsi Raw Ad

Seems like everyone is on some kind of health kick these days. Every day grocery store products are going organic and re-branding themselves to appeal to the health-conscious. And now big brand names are getting in on the action, too.

Take Coke for example. Last year they launched Diet Coke Plus, a soda packed with vitamins and minerals. According to Wikipedia, “each 12-ounce serving of Diet Coke Plus provides 25% of the daily value for niacin and vitamins B6 and B12, and 15% for zinc and magnesium.” Although the Plus logo is a little more colorful than the regular Diet Coke logo, it ultimately stays true to the brand.

Not to be outdone by Coke, Pepsi just launched Pepsi Raw in the UK. Pepsi Raw is just that, as raw as a soda can be. Raw ingredients include apple extract, plain caramel coloring, coffee leaf, tartaric acid from grapes, gum arabic from acacia trees, cane sugar and sparkling water. That’s it. But I think the best part has to be the design of the Raw bottle. Moving away from their more colorful work, Pepsi Raw introduces a bottle almost as raw as the product itself. Minimal branding (a small Pepsi logo up top), big RAW type, stacked down the neck of the bottle, and waves showing off the natural curves of the bottle. And being a clear bottle, the product shines right through. A great example of less is more.

Hopefully Pepsi Raw will hit stateside sometime this year (no word yet) but if you’re wondering how it tastes compared to regular Diet Pepsi, the results are in, and apparently it’s pretty damn similar.

Image from Cherryflava.

See this post on Changethethought.com.

Advertisements

Probots In Disguise

Attune Ad

Probiotics quickly becoming all the rage. Some choose to start their day off with a yogurt “shot” filled with probiotics. I’ve done so a few times, but to be honest, it’s not usually something I look forward to. While it tastes fine (actually it tastes like yogurt) wouldn’t you want something that tastes a little better but still fits in all the probiotics you need?

That’s where Attune comes in. The fine people at Attune were nice enough to send some samples my way and I’m sure glad they did. They sent me two varieties:

CHOCOLATE PROBIOTIC WELLNESS BARS

Get your chocolate fix with a healthy twist. Enjoy Attune chocolate probiotic wellness bars in Chocolate Crisp, Dark Chocolate, Mint Chocolate or Blueberry Vanilla!

  • Packed with 5 times the live active cultures in yogurt!
  • Provides an excellent source of calcium with only 100 calories!
  • Just right to take on the go!

GRANOLA PROBIOTIC WELLNESS BARS
If you’re craving more from a healthy snack, choose Attune granola probiotic wellness bars in Strawberry Bliss, Wild Berry, Lemon Crème, or Mango Peach!

  • Packed with 5 times the live active cultures in yogurt!
  • Provides an excellent source of calcium and good source of protein and fiber.
  • Just right to take on the go!

Now if you’re sitting there wondering what a probiotic is, here’s what their site says:

The World Health Organization (WHO) officially defines probiotics as live microorganisms which when administered in adequate amounts confer a health benefit on the host.

The probiotics story begins with intestinal bacteria, which, are a community of good and bad bacteria that live in the digestive system. We all have naturally occurring bacterial communities in our digestive systems. These help:

  • Protect the body from harmful bacteria.
  • Exercise the immune system to ensure it is ready to react to harmful bacteria.
  • Strengthen the intestinal wall so it acts as a defensive barrier.
  • Digest fiber in the diet, so we can absorb the nutrients from the foods we eat.

These digestive bacteria are essential to overall wellbeing. Probiotics act as a helper to these friendly bacteria, and that help can keep the digestive system functioning well.

Back to the bars…I received a variety of flavors and every one I tried were honestly delicious. The granola bars taste just like granola bars, with fruit and yogurt mixed in. They’re low in calorie and perfect for a quick morning meal. But the superstar product had to be the chocolate probiotic wellness bars. I samples about 5 different bars, and they all taste just like chocolate candy bars. My favorite was the milk chocolate with tiny bits in side (reminded me of a Crunch bar). They were the perfect after dinner dessert and ideal for anyone with a sweet tooth. But the best part about these (besides the high probiotic count) is the fact that they’re only 100 calories, low in sugar, and an excellent source of calcium. Oh, and according to their site, you’ll really be able to “feel” the probiotics working after a couple of weeks.

Overall, I highly recommend these and I might have to pick up more from my local Whole Foods, unless the nice people at Attune want to send me more! Everyone I let try these, from friends to coworkers, loved the taste and the fact that they’re healthy!

If you want to learn more about Attune, head to their website here. And if you’re still not sure about Attune, but are interested in giving it a try, here’s a coupon.

If you’ve already tried these or decide to try them after reading this, feel free to post your thoughts in the comments section.

Fresh.

Herb Savor

As much as I like buying fresh herbs, I hate it. They seem to always go bad as soon as you use them. And saving them in the fridge is always a pain in the ass and never seems to keep them fresh either.

You really only have a couple options to solve this. You could go to a site like this one and attempt to follow one of the 7 different herb-keeping methods. Or you could head over to the A + R site and take a look at some of their well-designed herbal solutions.

First, check out the Herb Savor ($34).

We love to shop at the farmer’s market, and carry home big baskets of fruit, veg and herbs. But the truth is those gorgeous fresh herbs do not stay that way for long. After a few days (even wrapped up in the fridge) they loose a lot of their vigor. Enter this clever device from brand-new designers Prepara in New York. Simply place your fresh herbs in the removable stainless steel herb basket and fill the base with water. The herb stems sit slightly submerged in the water of the water-well, keeping them fresh and prolonging their life for up to three weeks. The Herb Savor’s slimline shape means it easily finds a place in your fridge (or fridge door) while its modern form showcases the natural beauty of the herbs within. A perfect gift for any cook!

Or if you want something you can keep on the counter, check out the Fresh Herb Pot ($18).

Scandinavian in its simple, unadorned and practical design, this ceramic pot from Sagaform is an ingenious way of enjoying fresh herbs much like flowers: Insert a bunch in the enlarged opening, and keep hydrated by pouring water into the corner hole. The broad base ensures that all those little stalks have access to water, while allowing air to circulate so herbs keep from becoming limp and waterlogged. Easy to take apart for cleaning. And at this price, you can buy several and surround yourself with the scent of freshly cut herbs.

Seems like either option would work better than bagging your herbs and will save you some money in the long run.

Dunkin’ Donuts Across America

Dunkin’ Donuts

We might not have fully-functional Dunkin’ Donuts stores here in LA, although rumors are circulating, we’re coming closer.

Dunkin’ Donuts is launching their branded coffee in grocery stores across America. I’ve already spotted it at a few stores in LA.

And to celebrate the launch, they’re holding a special event.

On December 8th, Dunkin’ Donuts Packaged Coffee is hosting a shopping-cart derby at the Santa Monica Pier.

To participate, simply register a two-person team, preferably named something coffee-related, like the Caffeine Cowboys, or…the Spoonfuls of Sugar. Then show up at the Pier for the competitive obstacle course: shelf-raiding, overloading carts with coffee, screaming at your partner’s poor performance, and blaming your own missteps on a “wobbly back wheel”. Each team that enters spurs a donation by P&G to America’s Second Harvest (up to $20,000, so even if you lose badly, you still win.) (from Thrillist)

What can you win? Well if your team finishes first, you’ll get a 2 year supply of DD’s packaged coffee. Second place gets a year’s worth, and third gets ya 6-months.

Here’s what you need to know: Dec. 8 @ Santa Monica Pier • Mandatory check-in at 9am • Qualifying heats start at 10am

You can sign up your team right here.

UPDATE: The event is over but here’s a video of all the highlights from the event.

Taste Sweet Victory

Seahawks

Back in May, I reported that the Jones Soda Co. sacked Coke, by acquiring the exclusive rights as official soda of the Seattle Seahawks and Qwest Field.

Jones is indeed serving soda left and right over at Seahawks games, and being fall, Jones has decided to come out with yet another unique soda collectors pack, but this time is has nothing to do with the holidays. Jones has traditionally been known to release collectors packs in odd flavors, including their Holiday Pack, consisting of Turkey and Gravy soda, Sweet Potato Soda, Dinner Roll Soda, Pea Soda, and Antacid Flavored Soda.

But now that Jones Soda has an in with an NFL team, they’re coming out with the Seahawks Collector Pack. Flavors include Field Turf Soda, Sports Cream Soda, Perspiration Soda, Dirt Soda and Sweet Victory Soda. Each features a Seahawks’ player on the label. Here’s what Jones has to say about all of this.

IF YOU THINK you’re tough enough to play in the NFL, then you’d better step up and have a little taste of what NFL players experience throughout their entire careers.

NFL players have:
• Spent an average of 2 years in the gym.
• Perspired 10,000 gallons of sweat.
• Eaten 2 pounds of grass.
• Tasted 3 pounds of dirt.
• And spread over 5 gallons of sports cream on their muscle aches.

So Jones Soda created this Limited Edition Seahawks Collector Pack as a tribute to the Seattle Seahawks and a little taste of what it’s like to be in the NFL. If you can get through it all, only then can you taste SWEET VICTORY.

Each pack also comes with a #12 flag. FYI, #12 stands for the fan, as in the 12th player on the field.

The pack hit some stores on Oct. 1st, but you can order yours at the Jones site. All this can be your for $19.95 plus shipping.

Apple Hearts Starbucks

Apple & Starbucks

Apple is holding a press conference as we speak (er, type) to announce a handful of new iPods and features. The only one that really relates to this food is the new iTunes Wireless Music Store and their partnership with Starbucks.

That’s right…if you own an iPhone or run out and purchase one of the new wi-fi enabled iPhone-look-a-like iPods, you’ll be able to download music on the go and when you walk into a Starbucks, a list of the song playing throughout the store as well as the last 10 songs played will appear on your screen. If you see or hear something you like, you can download it.

Steve Jobs even brought Howard Schultz, the founder and chairman of Starbucks, on stage during this announcement. According to Mr. Schultz, “We open 7 stores every single day.” According to Mr. Jobs’ presentation, Starbucks features over 14,000 stores world wide, 50m customers per week, 18 visits per month per customer.”

Also, no longer will you have to pay for the WiFi feature at Starbucks if you’re on your iPhone/iPod. You’ll have free access to the new wireless music store. Exclusive with iTunes, no login required, completely free access ot the iTunes WiFi Music Store while at Starbucks.

Engadget says the rollout plan is this: 5800 WiFi-enabled stores nationwide. Starting October 2nd: New York and Seattle. 600 stores, followed up in November with 350 stores in SF…then LA and Chicago in ’08.

According to Apple…

Sip. Buy. Repeat. If you’re in a participating Starbucks, the iTunes Wi-Fi Music Store on your iPhone or iPod touch has even more to offer. Tap the Starbucks button to find out which song is playing in the café, then buy it instantly. Browse Starbucks playlists to discover new music. Or connect to the iTunes Wi-Fi Music Store for free and access millions of songs while waiting for your mocha. It all debuts in more than 600 Starbucks locations in New York and Seattle on October 2, 2007. Click here for more info.Oh, and if you have yet to buy an iPhone, you’ll be happy to know Apple just dropped the price to $399.

Visit Apple for all your iPhone/iPod needs.

Two Buck Chuck & $10 Wines

2 Buck

I don’t consider myself a wine connoisseur, but my palette is improving. That said, when buying a wine, I usually spend $8-$15 for what I consider to be a decent bottle just to keep around. But apparently I’ve been overspending.

Trader Joe’s famous “Two Buck Chuck” recently took the award for the top chardonnay at the California State Fair Commercial Wine Competition.

The connoisseurs may cringe, the snobs may even sob, but the judges have spoken: California’s best chardonnay costs less than $3.

Charles Shaw Chardonnay, better known as “Two Buck Chuck,” beat hundreds of other wines and was named the top prize in a prestigious tasting competition in California.

The affordable wine beat out 350 other California chardonnays to win the double gold. Second place went to an $18 bottle, and the most expensive wines at the event, at the price of $55, didn’t even medal. (from ABC News)

And in case you haven’t heard of Trader Joe’s or Two Buck Chuck, here’s some background from Wikipedia.

Charles Shaw is an American brand of “extreme value” wine produced in California.

These wines are currently Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, and most recently Shiraz varietals and Valdigue in the style of Beaujolais nouveau,and Pinot Grigio in limited quanities all from California vineyards. They are distributed exclusively by Trader Joe’s grocery stores, and in California sell for $1.99. Because of this, the Charles Shaw wines are affectionately known as Two Buck Chuck.

Due to the three-tier system, in other states the price can go up to around $4. As such, the wine is often referred to as “Three Buck Chuck” or “Four Buck Chuck” relative to the price.

Charles Shaw is an example of the recent trend of economy-minded wine drinkers seeking the greatest value. In particular the brand stands out not only for the low cost, but also for the respectable packaging and semi-frequent high ratings at wine tasting events. For example, at the 28th Annual International Eastern Wine Competition, Shaw’s 2002 Shiraz received the double gold medal, besting the roughly 2,300 other wines in the competition. More recently, Shaw’s 2005 California chardonnay was judged Best Chardonnay from California at the 2007 California State Fair Commercial Wine Competition. The chardonnay received 98 points, a double gold, with accolades of Best of California and Best of Class.If you don’t happen to live close to a TJ’s, don’t worry. Here’s a list of wines under $10 compiled from the NY Times, PJ Wine, and Fine Living that will help you find a great bottle of vino without breaking the bank.

Steenberg South Africa Sauvignon Blanc 2004, $8
Crisp, fresh, zesty and balanced, with unexpected depth. (Importer: Monsieur Touton Selections, New York)

J. Vidal-Fleury Côtes-du-Rhône 2001, $8
Earthy and balanced, with lingering fruit flavors and a great sense of place. (W. J. Deutsch & Sons, White Plains, N.Y.)

’05 Arzuaga Ribera del Duero “La Planta,” $8.99
A PJ’s Wine of the Week: The nose carries lovely notes of black cherry, dusted cocoa, warm vanilla bean and a suggestion of oak. The palate boasts exquisite black cherry and plum flavors with hints of smoky minerality and a dark, milk chocolate-inflected finish. Serve this rich, fruity wine with roast pork tenderloin, pasta Bolognese, lamb chops or steak.

’05 Odfjell “Armador” Chile Cabernet Sauvignon, $7.97
This wine received a 90 point rating by The Wine Advocate, although no tasting note was given. It is another outstanding Cabernet Sauvignon value from this impressive Chilean producer. Bright red and black berries are followed by a touch of roasted red pepper and a hint of fresh jalape–o. The brightness of the nose carries through on the palate, which is smooth and loaded with cassis and blackberry flavors and chalk tones. This wine finishes with vibrant fruit and a touch of pleasingly dusty, ripe tannins. An expressive and distinctive Cabernet buy.

’01 Marqués de Riscal Rioja Reserva, $9.97
2001 is a breakout vintage for the consistently first-rate Marqués de Riscal Reserva. It offers beautifully plush, ripe black fruit flavors, smoky oak and mineral nuances coupled with outstanding balance and finish. It is without a doubt one of the greatest values in the store and a miracle at this price. Drink now or over the next 30 years!

Red Flyer 2003 California Red Table Wine, $ 9, California.
The label depicts a flying saucer zipping through a bleak postmodern landscape, but this award-winning combo of Syrah, Mouvedre, Grenache, Carignan, and “Clone X” contains very pleasant hints of toasty oak.

Firestone Vineyard 2005 Sauvignon Blanc, $10, California.
Aged in stainless steel tanks, this one’s clean, bright and versatile — it would serve well as your house white. It’s 100 percent Sauvignon Blanc, not a blend.

Folie à Deux 2004 Ménage à Trois California Red, $9, California.
Purify your thoughts, people. We’re talking about a blend of three grapes: Cabernet, Zinfandel and Merlot. This mouthful of a wine starts off vibrant and fruity and finishes with a fresh-ground, spicy bite. There’s nothing it can’t stand up to — throw your best summer barbecue at it. It won’t flinch.

14 Hands Cabernet Sauvignon 2004, $10, Washington.
Grown in the wine-making region of Washington state known as Horse Heaven Hills, the name of this super-smooth wine refers to the height of the mustangs that once ran wild there. Its lingering finish is reminiscent of the cherries for which the area is also known.

Alianca Vinho Verde, $7, Portugal.
Perhaps the classic summer white wine, this crisp Portuguese import is the crushed-grape equivalent of linens drying in the sunshine. The term “vinho verde,” or “green wine,” refers not to the color but means the wine is best drunk young.

Henry’s Drive Pillar Box Red 2004, $10, Australia.
Don’t be hoodwinked by the screw cap. This smoky, intense wine from Australia’s Padthaway winemaking region received a buzz-worthy rating of 90 out of 100 from The Wine Advocate reviewer Robert Parker. A rich, complex and lingering blend (primarily Cabernet), this is a treat you won’t soon forget.

Hacienda Pinot Noir 2002, $7, California.
This is a nice, light, fruity red for those who prefer less drama per sip than, say, rambunctious Pillar Box fans. On average one of the most inexpensive wines on this list, this Pinot Noir is better suited to a juicy pork tenderloin than a T-bone steak.

Viña Sila Las Brisas 2004, $10, Spain
Got some spicy shrimp cooking up on a skewer? Maybe enjoying a creamy chilled soup made with avocado and cucumber? This fresh, faintly citrusy white from Spain’s Rueda winemaking region will set off these summer dishes perfectly.

Doña Paula Los Cardos Malbec 2004, $9, Argentina.
A robust red with an intriguing chocolate-coffee taste on the finish, this winning selection is made from the increasingly popular Malbec grape. Malbecs, which were grown heavily in France but are now the prize variety of Argentina, tend to make deep, dark violet wines.

Smoking Loon Viognier 2004, $10, California.
This flavorful white from Don Sebastiani & Sons is on the sweet side of Chardonnay, very fruity and full. The winemaker recommends it as an aperitif, a palate cleanser, or a counterbalance to spicy foods like a searing Thai curry.

Photo from Flickr.

The New Dunkin’ Donuts – in LA?

DD

Not sure if this is a good or bad thing, but the Dunkin’ Donuts you know and love may soon be changing. According to a Time Magazine article a couple months ago…

If it weren’t for the pink door handle shaped like the letter D at the new Dunkin’ Donuts shop in Sarasota, Fla., you might think you had stumbled into a Starbucks. Bags of beans and oversize coffee mugs near the door? Check. A waiting area for lattes and cappuccinos? Check. Heck, there’s even free wi-fi and a rack of gift cards by the register.

This is the Dunkin’ Donuts of the future, a chic space with soaring ceilings and earth-toned walls that will be the prototype for every new store the 57-year-old chain opens. “We’re not a sleepy little New England company anymore,” says Dunkin’ Brands CEO Jon Luther, 63. Sure, they’ll still have time to make the doughnuts for your morning commute, but Luther thinks the slightly musty chain is ready to take on the industry giants–Starbucks and McDonald’s–on their turf. He started small, rolling out espresso drinks in 2003; they now account for 5% of sales. Next he plans to triple the number of U.S. stores, to 15,000, by 2020; expand the menu with pizza and flatbread sandwiches; and give the stores a much-needed makeover.

I just hope they expand out to the west coast. Everytime I visit the east coast I always grab a cup of DD coffee and a couple of bags to take back to LA.

BREAKING NEWS!: Just a couple days ago I spotted Dunkin’ Donuts bags of beans in a Los Angeles area Walgreens. To my knowledge this had previously been unavailable ANYWHERE on the west coast. Correct me if I’m wrong…

But don’t worry about DD turning into a Starbucks or McDonalds.

Instead of trying to compete head on at lunch and dinner, Dunkin’ is betting on snacks like smoothies and miniature pizzas. Drive-through customers account for 60% of its business, so Dunkin’ is focusing on food you can eat with one hand on the steering wheel. Since people stop in for coffee all day long, the hope is that they will be more inclined to grab a quick snack too. The prototype store uses high-speed ovens that can heat sandwiches in less than a minute while giving the bread those toasted brown edges no microwave can imitate.

But you won’t find a dollar doughnut menu at Dunkin’. Rather than engage in a price war with the fast-food giants, Dunkin’ is trying to close the gap between itself and Starbucks. Although it makes more money on breakfast sales overall than the Seattle-based chain, the average Dunkin’ check is just $1.85, vs. $3.75 at Starbucks, notes food analyst Tom Miner of research firm Technomic. Dunkin’ has positioned its breakfast sandwiches as quick quality, at the same price as Starbucks, $2.99. “I think they’re in a good position against their competitors,” says Miner. “Their biggest challenge is to focus on a couple of very popular items and do them really well.”

Oh, and just in case you want a Dunkin’ Donuts fix every morning, pick up one of these Retro Dunkin’ Donut Diner Mug featuring “Dunkie” the original mascot for $3.99.

Photo from Flickr.

100 Calories

Coke

Are those 100-calorie snack packs really worth it? According to Treehugger.com, they’re not.

Extra packaging and smaller bags factor into the price hike, but you might as well buy a regular bag and divvy it up into smaller portions.

The extra convenience—and unnecessarily wasteful packaging—costs extra money, says a new study from the Center for Science in Public Interest. ABC News notes that if you buy a large bag of the regular Chex Mix snack and divvy up portions equal to 100 calories each, you’d only be out 25 cents per portion, compared with 87 cents if you went with a 100-calorie pack. Each 100-calorie portion of Keebler Chips Deluxe Family Size Cookies cost 16 cents, but a prepackaged snack would cost you 40 cents extra. (from Treehugger.com)

And ABC News suggests that even though they only contain 100 calories, too much of a good thing can be bad.

For example, by splurging and eating two 100-calorie packs of Hostess Mini Cupcakes, suddenly a person has consumed more calories than if he or she had eaten one large Hostess cupcake.

And Jacobson said people should realize the types of foods that are in the snack packs.

“I think it’s important to note that none of these foods are really health foods. We’re talking cookies and crackers — foods that we really shouldn’t be eating much of anyhow,” Jacobson said. (from ABC News)

These 100-calorie packs are so popular that everyone is making reduced calorie packs now, even Coke.

And according to USA Today…

The category didn’t exist four years ago. But 29 such 100-calorie pre-packaged products were introduced over the past three years — 18 last year. (from USA Today)

Check out this chart that shows how the percent change from a year ago has lifted the “treats” category by 14 BILLION dollars.

So you pretty much have 2 choices…either spend the extra money for already portioned snack, or portion it out yourself. Just don’t go gorging on the 100 calorie packs because they sound healthier. Cause they’re probably not.

Kai-pee-reen-yah

Caipirinha

Don’t call it a mojito. Cause it’s not. It may look a bit similar, but if you use the authentic ingredients you’ll see (and taste) why this drink stands on its own.

It’s a caipirinha and it’s the perfect summer drink AND it might be the easiest drink you’ll ever make.

You can use vodka (known as a caipiruska) or rum, but it’s not authentic if you don’t have a bottle of Cachaça (ka-SHA-sa). I just picked up my first bottle…it’s a totally different taste than rum or vodka, hard-hitting, but lite and delicious. It’s strong enough for a man, but sweet enough for a woman.

I went to my local liquor store and picked up a bottle of Leblon. It’s a clear, nice looking bottle, with lime green mountain silhouettes (symbolic of the Leblon, Brazil mountains). Mine came with a muddle, which I was in need of, so I was sold.

Here’s some background info on the caipirinha, Brazil’s national cocktail.

The national drink of Brazil, the Caipirinha gained its popularity in the 1950s and 1960s on the beaches of Rio and Sao Paulo State during the days of Jobim and Bossa Nova. To the non-Brazilian, the Caipirinha has similarities to its muddled cousin the Mojito and the lime-based Margarita. To us, the Caipirinhas have become a whole new cocktail platform for muddling fruits and other ingredients into exciting creations. (from Leblon)

The city of Paraty gave its name to the drink: parati is a synonym for cachaça. Other words for it include: pinga, caninha, branquinha, malvada. There are tours of distillers in the state of Minas Gerais, much in the same way as you’d tour vineyards in Sonoma Valley or in France, with the added bonus of their famous regional cuisine. Cachaça is also notorious for brands with pornographic labels…they’re hilarious!

You can also make a pitcher of caipirinha. Figure out how many people and multiply amounts. If you can’t find cachaça where you live, use a good vodka. The drink will then be called caipiroshka. No vodka? Use white rum and you will have a caipiríssima. Caipirinhas made with sake are all the rage in Rio now!

You can use cachaça to flambé bananas and other food; add it to hot chocolate and even to coffee; marinate pork loin and pork chops, etc. (from Maria’s Cookbook)

It might be tough for you to find a bottle of Cachaça, but if your liquor store carries it, I highly recommend picking up a bottle of the Leblon brand. If your store doesn’t carry it, try bevmo.com. I didn’t know much about it before buying the bottle, but after tasting it and taking a look at their site, turns out the stuff is pretty legit.

Leblon Cachaça was awarded a Double Gold Medal at the 7th Annual San Francisco World Spirits Competition. It was one of only two spirits in its category to receive the Double Gold Medal, and Leblon was also named “Top Cachaca” by a judging panel of the most influential spirits industry professionals in the U.S. The category with the largest growth was Cachaca – which went from three entries in 2006 (when it was introduced as a new category) to 16 entries in 2007 – making it equal to the Gin category for number of entries.

The recipe is simple enough:

  • 2 oz Cachaça (or vodka or rum or sake…)
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 1 lime
  • crushed ice
  • muddle

And the directions are super quick:

  1. Rinse your lime, then dice it (roll it a bit to release the juices first). Once diced, toss in the sugar. Then, using a muddle, smush the sugar and lime til it turns into a sweet syrup. If you don’t have a muddle, a wooden spoon should work.
  2. Next, fill the remaining space in the glass with crushed ice.
  3. Finally, pour in the liquor. A shot or two will do.

Still confused? Here’s a step by step lesson in caipirinha-ing (I made that word up by the way…) and there’s also a video that can help.

Be sure to snoop around their site (liveloveleblon.com) for Leblon party invites, Brazilian music downloads and streaming radio, recipes and a ton of other interactive features.

Although this drink is good all year long, it’s especially refreshing in the summer, so get out those muddles and get to work. You don’t have much longer.

Photo from Flickr.