Oct 7, 2009

Caipirinha heaven: Academia da Cachaça, in Rio, is top bar for tasting the signature Brazilian cocktail

Every single bar in Rio or elsewhere in Brazil serves cachaça - the national sugarcane spirit - either neat or in a caipirinha (muddled with lime and sugar and topped with crushed ice). But no bar is better known for its cachaças than the Academia da Cachaça, a quaint whole-in-the-wall in the Leblon district of Rio.

The bar claims that it was the first to ever prepare caipirinhas substituting the lime of the classic recipe for other fruits, like passion fruit or kiwi. Whether true or not, the fact is this is a great place to have a taste of the true cachaças (artisanal, aged ones, and not the mass-produced harsher versions).

The bar also serves a myriad "petiscos", or finger food, like beef and cheese croquettes or jerk beef with toasted manioc flour. The full-size dishes are also quite good and typically Brazilian. Try the escondidinho (shredded chicken or cod au gratin) or the vatapá carioquinha, a more delicate version of the famous Bahian dish. Feijoada - the national dish of black beans, rice, wilted kale, farofa and orange slices - is served daily.

Academia da Cachaça Leblon: Rua Conde Bernadotte 26, lojas E/F/G - Leblon. Tel.: (21) 2529-2680 / (21) 2239-1542. Sunday-Thursday from noon to 1 am, Fridays and Saturdays from noon to 2 am.

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