Sunday, September 26, 2010

:: patience ::

I just started a project that will require 6-12 months of waiting, but I am posting it now to encourage others to give it a try in parallel with me. The recipe is for Coquiña or Cachaça de Coco that Charles H. Baker, Jr. wrote about in The South American Gentleman's Companion. Baker acquired this recipe from the Furna de Onça Restaurant in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and is for coconut-aged rum! He presented it as follows:
Take husked coconut, bore out 1 of the "eyes" in the "monkey's face" you'll find at 1 end. Pour-out water. Refill nut with any white rum like new Cuban or Key West aguardiente, or inexpensive white Puerto Rican or Cuban rum - NOT brown or Jamaica. Cork tightly with a soft-wood peg driven-into the shell firmly. Bury in ground, dig-up after 6 month to a year. Drink the stuff neat, out of small glass.
The process will add a ruddy amber color and a "most unusual and pleasant taste." Moreover, it will make the spirit more mellow the longer it stays in its tropical cask. Baker did give the option of cachaça later in the text.
Earlier today, I bought 3 coconuts at Whole Foods. The best part of the experience was when the cashier dropped one from about a foot up. She apologized and said that she did not want to break it before I got it home. I told her that it could be replaced, and beside, it would take a lot more than that to crack a coconut. She then asked how I was going to open them and recommended a hammer. When I finally told her that I was going to drill a hole in each of them and fill them with rum, she shot me a dirty look. The stunned and judgmental expression quickly shifted to her ignoring what I just said and re-recommending the use of a hammer to open the nut.

For a method, I did end up using a hammer albeit later in the process. I used a 1/2 inch drill bit and made a hole in one of the eyes in each coconut. The wider the eye, the easier the bit went in for there was less tough, fibrous matter in the way. I then filled two with Seleta Cachaça and one with J.Wray & Nephew Rum. I did not realize until afterward that the directions specifically stated not to use Jamaican rum, but I now interpret that to mean dark aged and not white overproof Jamaican rum (which could stand a bit of mellowing). I sealed the holes with pieces of whittled tree branch and the recommended hammer. Instead of burying them, they are being stored in the kitchen for safe keeping.

I am curious to see if the rum will become coconut-flavored à la unsweetened Malibu or fat-washed with coconut oils. Only time will tell since Baker was rather vague about the effect.


Unknown said...

This sounds like a great project. How did you select your cachaca? My personal favorite is Leblon, though we have a bottle of cheaper Cachacha that is just sitting around and may be a good candidate. This may fall into garbage in garbage out though, so my question really is did you start with a Cachacha you really like, or one you sought to improve (or both)?

frederic said...

I like Seleta and it came recommended from a Brazilian and from Playboy magazine.

Leblon is a good cachaça but it is already smooth. It is also rather expensive since you're paying for the marketing and for the spirit to make a trip to Cognac and back before being shipped to the states.

I think over-processing Leblon would be overkill and perhaps you would lose most of the cachaça notes since it is already relatively pretty clean.

KeithP said...

Sounds like an interesting project; look forward to reading about how it turns out.

Good luck.

Tony Harion said...

Awesome! You are going to love this!

We have these coconut filled w/ cachaça all the time here in Brazil!

I didn’t know you could get Seleta easily enough to fill coconuts there. It´s a pretty fairly price product around here and quite true to cachaças unlike many others that you guys get there.

I had never seen anyone mentioning to bury the coconut, this is new to me. Makes me wonder what it really does.

I think you´ll find that the cachaça picks up the coconut flavor fast. I don’t think you´ll need six months at all. Hell, I don’t think I ever waited this long, but I do have problems containing myself whenever I make them.

One recommendation, if you are really going to wait six months, go ahead and get some more coconuts tomorrow. This stuff is VERY tasty and I don’t want you to regret having made only three in half a year from now.

Keep us updated!


frederic said...

I can get Seleta for $17/liter here. We also have a rather large Brazilian population so that probably helps. It's not unusual for a liquor store here to have a dozen cachaça varieties.

Don't know about the burying part other than it would prevent you from draining it prematurely because it was right in front of you? No clue, and perhaps the bartender telling that to Baker was pulling his leg...

The Opinionated Alchemist said...

This is indeed a very cool project.
Coconuts in Dubai are pretty cheap [the dried ones - green fresh ones are considerably more expensive, though you want to have the dried ones].

I have to try myself.
Any idea, what a digging into the ground can do for the maturing?

frederic said...

I'm guessing that burying it in the ground could make it easier for to you forget about it for a while. Or in a hot place like Brazil, to give it a more even aging temperature.

It seems unnecessary, and according to Tony (above), people in Brazil do not do it. But I do know that aging of Bourbon and other spirits does change when there is temperature fluctuation.

Sunny&Rummy said...

Talk about coincidence!

I got some coconuts the other week to make Ron del Barrilito and coconut waters with (delicious!). As I drilled open the coconuts I git to thinking about doing this very thing, and filling the empty coconuts with rum and setting them aside to age a bit to see what happens. I didn't actually follow through on the project but now I just might have to.

Craig Umpleby said...

Such an interesting post! I'm going to give it a try with some Cachaca and some blanco tequila to see what happens.

Thanks for the inspiration! :-)

frederic said...

Hadn't thought of tequila but should work quite well.

I'll know what direction to take this project once I sample it a few weeks in. I still don't know what to expect flavor-wise and smoothness-wise.