Friday, May 25, 2012


My girl, L. - of He Shot, She Shot fame - joined the Partner & me on the roof Friday.
Pictured with my caipirinha (left) is her mojito (right).
The Partner's bev? *Yawn* a glass of white wine ;-)
PDT Interview
Personal Preferences: light, refreshing, summery
Style of Drink: short but strong; on the rocks; a summer sipper
Spirit of Choice: clear liquor
Last Drink: Pimm's Cup #1

Finally, Caipirinha!  I've been wanting to mix this bev for the longest.  I've even had a bottle of cachaça on the bar for nearly a year now.  So as the return entry after being distracted and derailed by a major, month-plus kitchen remodel, I decided this would be the one to feature.
I was first introduced to this tipp over 15 years ago at a crazy gay disco cum bar cum restaurant called Rhumba.  Mojitos were just becoming all the rage (the best I'd had at that time being at Nacionale 27,  served with a sugar cane swizzle stick), so when our server suggested the caipirinha and described it in terms of a Brazilian mojito with this exotic Brazilian liquor that was a cross between rum & tequila*, I was all in.  Alas, Rhumba is no more.  But in the years since, I have enjoyed several Caipirinhas on warm evenings with my dear friend, M. over at the Matchbox (sitting along Milwaukee Ave. a must while sipping!).
Meehan’s version of Brazil’s national cocktail is good.  Looking around the web, he goes with the classic using just 3 ingredients.  He calls for Demerara sugar – which is somewhere between Sugar in the Raw & light brown sugar.  This makes sense as it gives added heft than plain white or simple syrup and counters the slight veggie quality of the cachaça.  Beyond that, I took a modified page from the Matchbox playbook and rimmed the glass with sugar.  Once I have the kitchen back, I’ll do it the way they do and use confectioner’s sugar -- an enjoyable twist.  This will be another feature on the rooftop this summer!

*: Cachaça is actually a rum, not a tequila.  Unlike Caribbean rums, however, it is made from sugar cane juice, not molasses.  Reputedly, it is the first spirit of the Americas, first produced in Brazil ca. 1532.  Thus, cachaça can only come from Brazil.  The comparison to tequila probably stems from two things: its slightly veggie quality on the palate and like tequila, the similar legal limitations on what can be called cachaça.

2 oz. cachaça
½ lime, quartered
2 barspoons or 2 cubes of Demerara sugar

Slice and juice the lime into a pint glass and muddle hulls with sugar.  Add cachaça and shake.  Pour unstrained into chilled rocks glass filled with ice.  No garnish (unless you want a sugared rim :-P  )

**: Since this entry is already a linkapalooza, here’s a fun one to native pronunciations of caipirinha.  Now you too can order like a Brazilian!

UPDATE: As it turns out, the Caipirinha was a summer feature, though not as often as we would have thought.  This is a strong drink with unique qualities.  Thus it doesn't lend itself to many in a row like, say, a margarit, a mojito, or something out of the Island Oasis machine.  But this does hit the spot after tiring of a run of one of those other drinks and you're not ready to stop yet and you don't quite know what you want next.  In such circumstances, have a Caipirinha.  It's different on the palate and definitely keeps the buzz going until dinner.  You might not have two at that point, but that's ok.  It's the transition drink!