Leblon Cachaca is organizing a march this evening through North Beach to protest what it sees as the discriminatory labeling rules of the US Government. You see, the government demands that Brazil's national spirit have on the label not only the word cachaca, but the phrase, "Brazilian Rum." And cachaca enthusiasts and producers--or at least the people behind Leblon--are incensed at this. They believe that cachaca--evidently the third-most consumed spirit in the world--is unique and worthy of its own category, independent of rum. To that end, you can sign the petition here and join the march at Calzone's at 5 PM or pick it up at Rose Pistola at 6, Mangarosa at 7:30 and 15 Romolo at 9:30. I've written a small slogan to be shouted through a megaphone as the procession takes to the streets: "Fee! Fie! Foe! Fum! Cachaca's not Brazilian Rum!" Or maybe this is better: "Hey hey! Ho Ho! 'Brazilian Rum' has got to go!"
Whatever the slogan, this is definitely a loud marketing ploy, with a little hint of that town-hall-disrupting, tea-bagging-party outrage that we're seeing these days in our country's political life. And, like those political actions, this one is somewhat trumped up. For one, cachaca is legal. The spirit is served all over town, and every time you order a Caipirinha you're getting some.
And though the petition states, "We formally and necessarily declare that Cachaça is independent of, and therefore not, 'Brazilian Rum,'" the fact is that it's not really at all wrong to call cachaca "Brazilian rum." According to the TTB, rum is "An alcoholic distillate from the fermented juice of sugar cane, sugar cane syrup, sugar cane molasses, or other sugar cane byproducts, produced at less than 190 proof in such manner that the distillate possesses the taste, aroma, and characteristics generally attributed to rum, and bottled at not less than 80? proof; and also includes mixtures solely of such distillates." Well, cachaca--which is distilled from fermented, fresh sugar cane juice--fits that fits that definition of rum. And it is from Brazil.
For the record, I think cachaca should have its own category. If a brand doesn't want to call itself "Brazilian Rum," it shouldn't have to. As for marching to legalize cachaca? I think I might sit this one out and just enjoy a perfectly legal caipirinha here at home.