Saturday, June 25, 2011

Caipirinha (Kie-purr-REEN-yah)

Cachaca in Storage
Cachaca Pot Stills
    The Brazilian National Drink and a long time well kept secret is now becoming very popular through out the United States and Europe.     The Caipirinha is made with Cachaca (Ka-sha-sa)  a liquor that is produced for the most part in Brazil.     Of the 394 million or so gallons of cachaca that are produced annually, 390 million gallons are consumed in Brazil.    

     What is the difference between Cachaca and rum?      Cachaca is made from sugarcane juice that is fermented and then distilled.         Most Rum is made from molasses, a by product of sugar production.     This is similar to the Seco Hererrano made in Panama as far as the ingredients and methods from which it is made.     There seem to be several other cane spirits in the South and Central Americas that are very similar and equally as popular in those areas.      One of the restrictions to the Caipirinha's growth is the fact that Cachaca has to be imported as rum.     This is because of the current U.S. importation laws and has caused a number of protests and the Cachaca being imported as "Brazilian Rum".

     Enough of the history and the primary ingredient, lets talk about the Caipirinha itself.    The name means "country bumpkin or hillbilly".    This cocktail is very popular among the Brazilians and one of their best kept secrets for a long time.     A very simple cocktail to make,  and fast growing out side of Brazil these days.

  • 1 2/3 oz Cachaca
  • Quartered  lime
  • 2 teaspoons crystal sugar
Place the lime and the sugar in an "Old Fashion Glass" and muddle.   Fill the glass with crushed Ice and add Cachaca.  Garnish with a lemon.     Vodka can be substituted in place of the Cachaca, make it a "Caipiroska".

     I know that I make a couple of substitutions at the Rum Bar in our recipe for Caipirinha.
Rum Bar Caipirinha
Caipirinha Cocktail
  • 1 1/2 oz Cachaca
  • Juice of 1/2 lime
  • 1 oz cane syrup
Place lime and cane syrup in a "cocktail glass" and fill with ice, add cachaca and shake.    Rim the glass with "sugar in the raw" and garnish with a lemon slice.

     No matter how you make it this is one of those really refreshing drinks for a hot day that isn't overly sweet.     Find a good bar that knows how to make this cocktail and get out and enjoy it.