Domaine de Canton nearly steals the show! On December 1st, Rico Wisner was named the Grand Prize Winner in Cuca Fresca Cachaca’s “Shake Your Way to Brazil” Mixology Challenge. His winning cocktail, the Punch from Ipanema, represented an inventive new interpretation of a classic punch and incorporated Cuca Fresca Premium Cachaça, a homemade hibiscus and rooibos tea simple syrup, passion fruit juice, fresh lime juice, and Domaine de Canton French Ginger Liqueur (recipe below). Rico’s inspiration for the cocktail was the sunset over Ipamena, a place he has visited in the past with his Brazilian wife. The cocktail is featured at his restaurant, Poste Moderne Brasserie, in Washington, DC.
Domaine de Canton also played a prominent role in another cocktail that advanced to the Final Five of the Cuca Fresca Challenge. Francois Vera of Cole’s in Los Angeles made a delicious cocktail titled the Ginger Dream, again showing the beautiful way in which Domaine de Canton marries with cachaca. Indeed, at the Polished Palate International RumFest in Tampa in March, 2009, the star cocktail of the event was a delicious take on the Caipirinha, called the Gingerinha, simply made with Cuca Fresca, lime wedges and, of course, Domaine de Canton.
Paul Pacult, one of the five judges for the finals said “this cocktail competition was easily the most competitive contest I've judged. The level of skill provided by the finalists was extraordinary, as was borne out by their five cocktails, Choosing a winner was difficult, since they were all deserving. In the end, the delicious Punch from Ipanema won our hearts. "
The Grand Prize Winner, The Punch From Ipanema
Sean Ludford, another of the Shake Off’s judges who has judged over fifty cocktail competitions, also said “this was the most impressive line-up of cocktails that I have ever seen in a comparable competition.”
Cuca Fresca’s owner, Phoenix Kelly-Rappa, said, “we knew this competition would be tough based on the caliber of talent we had competing and the cocktails they were making but we had no idea it would be so very close.” Cuca Fresca plans on making this a yearly competition and Ms. Kelly-Rappa also said, “we hope this is only the beginning of our ever-increasing relationship with the mixology community.”
The finals were held at Chicago’s Encore Liquid Lounge because of their innovative cocktail program and unique layout. The lounge’s raised circular bar provided the perfect stage for the finalists to showcase their skills for the judges and crowd. The event was attended by some of Chicago’s top mixologists, including Todd Appel and Lynn House. It was also attended by the Brazilian Vice-Consulate, Leila Tavares. The Punch From Ipanema will be added as a permanent selection on Encore’s cocktail menu. As the grand prize winner, Rico Wisner will be flown to Brazil for a five-day trip that includes a private distillery tour courtesy of Cuca Fresca.
Okay, enough talk, here are the recipes:
PUNCH FROM IPANEMA
Rico Wisner, Post Moderne Brasserie, Hotel Monaco, Washington, D.C.
1.25 oz Cuca Fresca Premium Cachaça
.75 oz passion fruit juice
.5 oz lime juice
1 oz hibiscus Rooibos tea syrup
.25 oz Domaine de Canton French Ginger Liqueur
Combine all ingredients, shake well with ice and serve on the rocks. Garnish with a lime slice.
Cole’s, Los Angeles, CA
3 orange wedges
5 mint leaves
.75 oz Domaine de Canton French Ginger Liqueur
2 oz Cuca Fresca Pura Gold
Muddle the orange wedges, lime and mint leaves together. Add ice, Domaine de Canton and the Cuca Fresca Pura Gold. Shake and pour, without straining, into a tall glass. Top with Bundaberg Ginger Beer. Garnish with an orange slice and mint.