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Friday Cocktail Blogging: Caipirinha

with 12 comments

Few things in life can beat the simple pleasure of relaxing, after a week’s worth of hard work, on a Friday evening. The satisfaction from just sitting back, listening to music or vegging out in front of the TV with Seinfeld re-runs can be immense. For the more socially active souls, or dare I say those of younger disposition, this is just a prelude for further adventures later in the night, while the more domesticated are left to peruse their Netflix queue !

Either way, the mood is not quite complete without the perfect drink in hand. As regular readers will know, this is usually a dry martini in my case. However, today I would like to recommend the Caipirinha, a highly refreshing sweet-n-limey cocktail, which happens to be the ‘national drink’ of Brazil. Apparently the drink is also quite the rage in Europe and is catching up in popularity in the US too. I first had it at a Brazilian Churrascaria (where they serve unlimited meat Rodizio style, or in other words, heaven; but that is another story) and have since made it several times at home.

Basically, the drink is a form of mojito, but uses the Brazilian liquor Cachaca (pronounced Ka-shah-sa) instead of rum. The main difference between cachaca and rum is that the former is made directly from sugarcane juice, while rum is made from mollases.

There are couple of ways of mixing the drink – but I prefer the shaken method (and was also recommended by a Brazilian dude I know). You will need fresh green lime, fine (caster) sugar, old-fashioned glass, a muddler (or a pestle will do), crushed ice and of course, the Cachacas (more details on the liquor below). The directions:

  • Roll the fresh green lime for a few seconds on a flat surface or dip in warm water for about 30 seconds.
  • Slice the lime into four quarters, and the cut V-shaped wedges in each quarter to remove the hard pith (this will ensure that there is no tart aftertaste of the lime). Further cut each quarter into two or three pieces.
  • Place the small lime pieces (I usually use about half to three quarters of the lime for each drink) into an old-fashioned glass tumbler (see picture below). Add two teaspoons of fine sugar (or more if you like it sweeter).
  • Muddle the lime and the sugar – if you do not have a muddler, use the pestle in your kitchen – put some effort to ensure good mixing.
  • Add crushed ice and 2-3 oz of Cachaca. Now, transfer the mix to your shaker or place a glass with a larger mouth diameter over the tumbler and give it a few shakes.
  • Pour everything back into the old-fashioned, garnish with a wedge of lime and serve with a stirrer-straw.

The drink obviously goes very well all kinds of meat and like I mentioned before, has a very refreshing quality.

The one problem in preparing the cocktail at home is that Cachaca is still not widely distributed in the US. In our state, where the liquor stores are run under the strict aegis of the government and notoriously lack variety, I was lucky to find one brand called Gandaia (which has a slight banana flavor). I have been told that the best brands are 51 Pirassununga or Mae De Ouro, which are available in some northeastern states. I have substituted white Bacardi rum for the Cachaca once, and the taste was fine (although the drink is then basically a mojito without the mint!).

Cheers and have a great weekend !

(note: in the picture, you will see I have used cubed ice since I was too lazy on the day. Ideally you should use crushed ice).

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Written by BongoP'o'ndit

March 2, 2007 at 10:23 am

Posted in Food, Life, Martinis

12 Responses

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  1. Hmm. Will give it a try except for tonite it will have to be with the Bacardi Rum 😉
    You talk about NC laws, try KY laws where alcohol is not sold on Sundays!! Neanderthals..

    Sakshi

    March 2, 2007 at 1:42 pm

  2. @Sakshi: Rum will work – but it might taste a bit too sweet.

    No liquor on Sunday is law in many states, except perhaps California, NY etc. Here in NC, all liquor shops are closed on Sunday and they wont let you buy beer/wine from grocery stores till 12noon. The shops themselves are operated under strict government permits and other than for Vodkas, pretty unimaginative in their selections.

    BongoP'o'ndit

    March 2, 2007 at 2:46 pm

  3. Here even the grocery stores won’t sell on Sundays and the restaurents sell only after noon. So a lot of planning is invovled in Sunday parties.
    I am going to go and get the right kinda alcohol for the drink instead of trying it with rum. Thought I might get at least drunk for Holi (bhang to door ki baat hai).

    Sakshi

    March 2, 2007 at 9:24 pm

  4. Sakshi: Don’t worry – you will soon be in an enlightened land where grocery store aisles sell the stuff 24×7. (if you happen to get a Costo membership, you can even buy 4L bottles of vodka !!)

    Good luck with the drink – having written this post yesterday, I obviously felt an urge to consume the stuff. Found a new cachaca at the store: Leblon, even came with a nice rubber muddler !!

    Holi…totally forgotten about that. Good excuse for getting drunk today again !

    BongoP'o'ndit

    March 3, 2007 at 12:54 pm

  5. You can try the internet. My favorite wine and sprit shop in NYC has an internet presence (astorwines.com) and they do deliver out of state…
    You could also call, I always found their employees knowledgeable and helpful.

    Corporate Serf

    March 4, 2007 at 10:14 pm

  6. Try “Pitu”, a brand of the same spirit. Just like there’s bloody mary and there’s Bloody Mary with Stolichnaya inside.

    Nitin

    March 5, 2007 at 2:51 am

  7. @CS: Thanks for the store recommendation. They really have a wide variety – but shipping kills unless I buy a whole case. Let’s see.

    @Nitin: Stoli and Ketel are probably the best non-premium vodkas you can get.
    Thanks for the brand recommendation. Will see if I can grab a bottle on my next visit to DC. Over the weekend, I was pretty happy with Leblon for making caipirinhas.

    BongoP'o'ndit

    March 5, 2007 at 10:53 am

  8. Try BevMo. I picked up a bottle of Leblon (Cachaca) a couple of weekends back. This stuff is good. If you are in the SF bay area I will also recommend Cascal at Mountain View downtown.

    -S

    Sourja

    March 6, 2007 at 1:08 pm

  9. @Sourja: Thanks – will try it. Unfortunately, I live in the opposite coast, but will remember if I happen to be in SF !

    BongoP'o'ndit

    March 6, 2007 at 9:12 pm

  10. […] my own versions of vodka-cointreau-lime-and-other-liqueur (e.g Cosmo) cocktails, margaritas and caipirinhas; I can also make a mean Sangria for […]

  11. Leblon and 51 are sold in the NC abc stores now… having had both, I suggest spending the money for the Leblon, it is yummy

    Martin

    November 26, 2007 at 10:09 am

  12. […] drinks, so not sure of the rejuvenating aspect either. I would suggest going for a Mint Julep, Caipirinha, or a Collins if you are going for ‘refreshing’, and pretty much a shot of any strong […]


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