16 November 2012

Brazilian drinks

The beer is terrible in Brazil (think Budweiser, but with a few different names), and the beer on tap, or Chopp, is the weakest of the bunch.  If you want to drink all night and never get drunk, this is the way to go. I have noticed this--the hotter the climate, the weaker the beer.  And always German-style lagers.  You can read into that whatever you want.

Even stronger alcoholic drinks don't pack as much of a punch in Brazil, but they highlight delicious fresh fruit and locally made, cane-based products, so I think they're the way to go.  The national cocktail seems to be caipirinha, made with Cachaça, sugar, and limes.  Caipiroskas are similar (but made with vodka) and often come in a variety of different fruits at bars.  Cachaça is available in the States at larger liquor stores (here in NoCo, Wilbur's in Fort Collins carries one that works just fine for mixed drinks), and Brazilians assure me that top-shelf is not necessary--or even desired--for making caipirinhas.

Standard Caipirinha--as dictated to me by Thiago, a very talented bartender who may have a drinking problem, in Goiania.

Serves 1

ice (we don't measure these things)

In a short old-fashioned glass or other tumbler, place 1 thin-skinned lime, quartered, and muddle until the juice has been released.  Pour in approximately 2 tablespoons sugar, a generous handful of cracked ice (be sure the pieces are not too big or they'll suddenly water down the drink), and fill with cachaça .  Stir with a long spoon and drink sloooooowly.

Strawberry Caipiroska (I can't claim authenticity in procedure here--this is just my replica of what I had at a samba bar in Goiania)

Serves 1

6 strawberries*, washed and quartered
1 tablespoon sugar
2 oz. vodka
cracked ice

Place the strawberries and sugar in an old fashioned glass and allow to sit about 5 minutes, or until strawberries start to give off juice.  (This can also be done ahead of time, in larger quantities, in a container kept in the refrigerator until it's cocktail time.)  Stir strawberry-sugar mixture, add vodka, stir again, and top with ice.

*Can also use chunked pineapple, limes, lemons, mangoes, or passion fruit.