AGWA de Bolivia Coca Leaf Liqueur
Looking for something interesting to serve or drink at a cocktail party? Look no further than AGWA de Bolivia, which is considered to be the world's first and only spirit derived from coca leaf. The translucent green liqueur is delicious and needs little else but some fresh lime juice and a couple of ice cubes, if you prefer it chilled (see the gallery below for cocktail recipes featuring AGWA de Bolivia).
AGWA contains guarana, an extract from the seeds of Paullina Cupana (which contains caffeine); ginseng (a stimulant); and approximately 40 grams of coca leaf in every bottle. The effect of drinking AGWA is different than that of other types of alcohol due to the coca leaf. The coca leaf alkaloids work by speeding up the rate of absorption of oxygen into the body's capillary system. It is a natural 'rush' that improves stamina and is similar to the "oxygen buzz" one gets when chewing coca leaves or drinking coca leaf tea at high altitudes in the Andes (as anyone who has visited Machu Picchu or Cusco, Peru can attest). Biting a lime after drinking AGWA activates the alkaloids in the coca.
AGWA's distillation process starts at the airport in La Paz, Bolivia, where a 2000 kilo bale of coca leaves is loaded into a jet liner. Armed guards watch the coca leaf as it is loaded to a jet cargo compartment. The coca leaf is flown to Amsterdam to be macerated, distilled and blended. Upon arrival, the bale of coca leaves is loaded into an armored truck and taken to a laboratory where it is decocainized and made into a tea that is pot-distilled to a strength of 72% to 82%, depending on the leaf.
The pure coca leaf distillate is then 'rested' before being forwarded to a flavoring lab where it is mixed with 36 other herbs and botanicals including guarana, yerbe mate, ginseng, Chinese green tea, African mint and lavender to taste by Wim Koolhaus, a world class master blender and favoroligist.
This potent, high strength formula is then transported to yet another facility where it is reduced to 30% ABV with the purest five-times distilled, grain neutral spirit, water, lime juice concentrate, and fruit sugars. The liquid is tank rested, tasted, and carefully checked and matched to control pre-bottling. Of course, all of the cocaine alkaloid is removed, which enables the liqueur to be approved by the U.S.Food & Drug Administration (FDA) and the Alcohol and Tobacco and Trade Bureau (TTB).
The end result contains 30% alcohol (60 proof). The AGWA can be enjoyed as a cocktail or ice cold straight up. Its vibrant green color becomes brighter as the liquor is made colder.
AGWA is causing a stir in the food and beverage world and is a staple drink in well-renowned bars, clubs, and restaurants across the country. AGWA is available around the world and can be purchased online and shipped anywhere in the U.S. The retail price for a 750 ml bottle of AGWA de Bolivia is $31.99. To order a bottle visit Shoppers Vineyard, Bevmo, Blanchards Wines & Spirits, or HITIMEWINE.net.