Leblon has a funkiness to it akin to Maraschino, but not in a good way. This was one of the first things that Josh ever taught me about mixology, and after trying his version of the caipirinha, made with Cachaca 51, I noticed an amazing difference. It makes the best caipirinha. Not to mention, 51 is about half the price of Leblon, without the funkiness, just clean cachaca goodness. It's the best-selling cachaca in Brazil, so I'm not sure where the Leblon hype came from.
When I tried the Night Boat to Recife cocktail at Horizons, made with Leblon, I really enjoyed the drink and immediately wanted to make it back home. We have a pretty decent home bar setup, with all the right tools and measuring devices, a variety of bitters and homemade syrups, and some house rules: No vodka and no Leblon. So how was I going to make the summery drink that had tasted so good at Horizon's bar?
Cachaca 51, my friends.
Now, of course I had to bastardize the drink in one more way. For some reason, I thought the recipe had called for lemons, so I didn't think to pick up any limes (as I type this there are now a gang of limes winking at me from across the room). Looks like I was going to make this drink with lemon, as lime options were not good in our neighborhood that night.
I used some Zico coconut water, which I found in Euphoria Cafe, but have not seen elsewhere.
It made a damn fine drink. Lemon and Aperol just get on so nicely. I promise to make it with limes now that I have them. I followed the recipe on in the above link, substituting the 51 and lemon, if you'd like to get your summer cocktail on. And go try the drink at Horizons, where they make some mean cocktails.