Friday Cocktail Blogging: Caipirinha
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).