• Weekly Cocktail #16: The Caipirinha / Cherry-Lime Caipirinha

    Cherry-lime caipirinha.

    Our friend Alicia over at Boozed + Infused (a great blog on homemade booze) recently posted on the concept of “gartending”. As you might expect, gartending means you are making cocktails with ingredients from your garden. So now that it has a name, we can say that we have been happily gartending for some time. One reason we like cocktails as much as we do is that we can quickly enjoy the fruit and herbs from the garden in drinks. It is always fun to enjoy the fruits of your labor, and if you get to add a bit of booze…so much the better.

    As we noted earlier this week, we are happily harvesting cherries. We are eating them out of hand, mostly, and will be baking this weekend, but once we picked them our thoughts went to cocktails. And we made a cherry-lime caipirinha. And it was good. Very good. Good enough that we decided to post the recipe.

    Cherry-lime caipirinha and ingredients.

    The caipirinha is the national drink of Brazil. It is a simple, but delightful, combination of cachaca, limes and sugar. You simply muddle about 1/2 a lime with a few teaspoons of sugar to get the juice and oils from the limes and then add cachaca and ice. While the process is simple, you get a very tasty, complex cocktail that is perfect for summer. And keeping in the spirit of Brazil, there are few rules with the Caipirinha. It is quite acceptable to add in or change the fruit or even the base spirit and still call the drink a caipirinha. And since we had cherries and we like them with limes, the cherry-lime caipirinha was not far behind.

    If you are unfamiliar with cachaca, it is basically “Brazilian rum” but it is made from sugar cane juice rather than molasses (rum agricole, made from cane syrup is somewhere between cachaca and rum). Cachaca has an overt sugar cane flavor with some heat from the alcohol and what most would call “musty” and grassy notes. That may not sound all that good, but it works well in cocktails, particularly with fruit-driven recipes. We enjoy cachaca in cocktails like the Rose Pearl, but it does mostly end up in caipirinhas during the summer.

    As for the caipirinha, the name itself loosely translates to “country-bumpkin” or “hillbilly”. And if you have a few of these your behavior certainly might “deteriorate” somewhat. The caipirinha is a great drink, the only real downside is that it is mostly booze, but goes down very, very easy. Sometimes you want to enjoy a caipirinha but not act like one, if you know what we mean…;-) Consider yourself warned and happy Friday!

    The Caipirinha / Cherry-Lime Caipirinha

    Ingredients:

    • 1/2 large lime, cut into quarters
    • 4 cherries, pitted and cut in half (optional)
    • 2 teaspoons, or more, granulated sugar
    • 2 or 3 oz. cachaca
    • Ice

    Assemble:

    1. Muddle the fruit and sugar in a cocktail glass. Add the cachaca and stir. Pour the mixture into a lowball glass and add a lot of ice. Mix and serve.
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  • Bonus Cocktail: The Rose Pearl

    Rose Pearl Cocktail

    If you get into making cocktails, one of the things you notice is how a new ingredient will spur the creation or adaptation of dozens of new drinks (and sometimes the revival of old classics). I still remember when St. Germain (sweet Elderflower liqueur) came out about five years ago and it seemed almost any drink with simple syrup or Cointreau was adapted to include St. Germain. And quite a few of the drinks were good, so much so that St. Germain is a pretty common ingredient these days.

    Well, we expect to see another spurt of new cocktails coming this summer, many of them with a touch of pink. Lillet just released its first new product in 50 years, Lillet Rose’. Lillet blanc is a well-known French apéritif used in cocktails like the Corpse Reviver #2 and the Vesper, and is also enjoyed on the rocks. A few weeks ago Lillet released their Rose’ version to the public (trade-types got early access last year and the response was very positive) and we decided to play around. The Lillet Rose’ is very tasty, similar to Lillet blanc but with a bit more floral, orange and berry notes. And yes, it is very pink. We like the Lillet Rose’ on its own but also in a number of cocktails we tried, but for many adaptations of the classics we are still fine-tuning (again, we suffer for our cocktails…really).

    But we have one recipe that we adapted with immediate good results, the Rose Pearl. The Rose Pearl is an adaptation of the Pearl Button. The Pearl Button combines cachaca, lime juice, Lillet Blanc and San Pellegrino Limonata soda. It is a great drink, but we figured that the Lillet Rose would add some extra orange and floral notes and a nice pink lemonade color (and yes, we are secure enough to admit we like a pink drink sometimes). And it turned out that the Lillet Rose’ not only gives new color to the drink but the floral notes and orange flavor play really well with cachaca and the other citrus. The Rose Pearl is supremely refreshing and a great “long” drink for summer, and if you don’t like pink, just use the Lillet Blanc. Continue reading