Thursday, March 6, 2008
Drink of the Moment: Caipirinha
As some of you know, I enjoy drinking, and as such, I have a wealth of knowledge on the subject of alcohol. So today, I present to you, the Caipirinha, the national drink of Brasil.
To make a Caipirinha, you'll need the following: Half a lime, sugar, crushed ice, and Cachaca.
Start by cutting the half of a lime into quarters, or eighths of a whole lime. Drop the half lime into the bottom of the glass, then add the sugar. The IBA standard is two teaspoons, but depending on the drinker's sweet tooth, you might go as high as 3-4 tablespoons. Muddle the lime and sugar together. Then add 2-3 ounces of Cachaca, and mix. Usually you stir it, but if you have the resources, it works very well as a shaken drink. Pour the mix, lime rinds and all into an old fashoined glass, and fill with crushed ice. Stir the drink a bit more to ensure the wedges sink to the bottom of the glass. Garnish is optional. Enjoy the drink, and picture yourself on Ipenema.
There are several variations on the drink. If you vary the fruit, you go to the group of drinks known as Batidas. For citrus fruits, you can keep the wedges, because the oil from the skin adds to the flavor. For fibrous fruits like apples and pears, it's easier just to throw an ounce of juice into the mix, rather than attempt to find some way to muddle it without creating a mess. I've found that a mix of Passionfruit juice and Coconut Milk is wonderful.
Some people prefer to add an ounce of half and half or condensed milk. That thickens the drink, and neutralizes some of the acidity. This variation is one that you either love, or hate. There is no middle ground.
You can also vary the alcohol. A common variant is to replace the Cachaca with vodka. People refer to this as a "Caipiroska". My personal favorite, if I'm not in a Cachaca mood, I'll replace it with a spiced rum, like Captain Morgan's.
For those of you who aren't experienced in making your own drinks, here's a helpful video.