Those used to the hair-raising ABVs of barrel-strength spirits may be unfazed by the designation of Novo Fogo’s Bar Strength Silver Cachaça. But the point of the Brazilian distiller’s spirit isn’t to provide an unvarnished, straight-from-the-still drinking experience, but rather to up the proof to increase the spirit’s presence in cocktails. As such, it’s distinguished by an ABV of 43% as opposed to the 40% of Novo Fogo Silver Cachaça.
Its nose is funky in a way that should be familiar to anyone who’s ever enjoyed a rhum agricole or cachaça. Grassy, sour, and sweet in a way that conjures overripe tropical fruits and even a hint of coconut.
That theme continues on the palate, which stays sour-sweet at the start with a bevy of fruit flavors including kiwi and apricot. At the center there’s a sweet tang of coconut milk, which is followed by spice, ginger, and the vegetal sweetness of raw sugar cane. Finally, it ends with the cleansing presence of sea salt.
Adding to its utility in cocktails is its texture, which is milky but clean. Cachaça’s prime utility is as the base of a Caipirinha, but I also tried it in an Old-Fashioned, where it performed admirably. Its sweet, fruity funk remained front and center while the Angostura bitters dovetailed nicely with its existing spice, and its spice and sea salt qualities made for a clean palate-cleansing finish. All things considered, a strong candidate for a favorite new after-dinner drink.