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Cocalero Herbal Liqueur (700ml)
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- ABV 29%
A 'Cocalero' is the Bolivian title for a coca leaf farmer. The farmers supplying the key ingredient for this exotic new elixir are reportedly the same as those employed by a world famous soft drink company. Just like the soft drink, the coca leaf involved in the production of Cocalero contributes no psychoactive qualities. Already popular in night clubs where it's mixed with energy drinks to create a “Cocalero bomb”, its creation involves a specialised steam distillation process pioneered by the perfume industry to extract the flavours and essential oils from the coca leaves. The result is blended with botanicals like ginseng, juniper, orange, guarana, lavender, green tea and ginger giving it a subtle herbal twist.Other reviews... On the palate, Cocalero is moderately sweet—moreso than the more traditional “herbal liqueur” of Cloosterbitter, but markedly less sweet than the intensity of St-Germain, which is primarily used for sweetening cocktails. It packs a bright, piercing note of candy-sweet lime citrus on the forefront, which passes into a melange of herbal notes, some piney juniper, and closes with moderate bitterness—once again in between the more bitter Cloosterbitter and the non-bitter St-Germain. It’s surprisingly “crisp” in nature. Dare I say, the effect is much more balanced than one might expect. Sure, it tastes almost exactly like a green Froot Loop, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. The level of residual sweetness is dialed into a place where it’s not unpalatable to drink at least a small amount of Cocalero neat, and by pouring it over ice this drinkability would only be accentuated. Likewise, the restrained bitterness helps keep everything in check and keeps the liqueur from feeling entirely like a gimmick. Is this a drink for lovers of intensely bitter amaro, such as Fernet Branca? Certainly not, but it could very well appeal to drinkers who are just dipping a toe into herbal liqueurs, and it might have some interesting cocktail applications as well—as long as you’re seeking that candy lime note. Ultimately, Cocalero isn’t among the most complex spirits in this corner of the liqueur family tree—it’s not a replacement for chartreuse, or Cloosterbitter, or Suze. Rather, it’s an easygoing drink that is approachable when neat, and might have some other applications waiting to be discovered. 29% Alc./Vol - Jim Vorel, pastemagazine.com