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Raising a Caipirinha to Brazil

I just want to take a moment to say "thank you" to Brazil.

Why? Well, although the country has some challenges (poverty, etc.) those lovely Brazilians export a lot of wonderful things to the citizens of the rest of the world.

Bossa nova, samba, capoeira, jiu-jitsu, feijoada, churrascaria, The Girl From Ipanema... all things evocative of sensuality and living life with verve.

So thanks very much, Brazil! I raise a caipirinha to you. A blackberry caipirinha to be precise.

Blackberry Caipirinha
Blackberry Caipirinha at Little Giant in NYC

For any out there living unawares, the caipirinha (kye-per-REEN-yah) is a refreshing Brazilian cocktail composed of ice, sugar, lime and cachaça (ka-SHA-suh), which is a sugar cane liquor that's made like a rum, except that rum is aged in oak, whereas cachaça is often not aged at all (though it's sometimes aged in barrels of various types of wood).

You'll note that blackberries are not particularly Brazilian, but neither am I, and they happen to be tasty and in season at the farmer's markets right now. So... to the cocktail we go.

This is a drink that requires a good, fierce muddling. In fact, I think I may insist on muddled cocktails henceforth, because if you don't have to muddle a mixed drink, there's no love in it, is there? (I may make an exception for cocktails of the martini/old fashioned variety, since there's really not much to muddle there.)

Feel free to substitute the berry in question. We're already breaking the rules by adding it, so why not just go nuts? If you want to do this the fancy way, blend the berries with a tablespoon or so of water and strain out the seeds before proceeding.

However, if you want to do it the fast way and just get on with the enjoyment part, proceed, o impatient one.
Blackberry Caipirinha
2 oz cachaça
6-8 plump blackberries (or any delicious berry you happen to have)
1/2 of a lime
1 tsp sugar (or 1/2 oz Simple Syrup)

1. Cut the halved lime into 3 wedges.
2. In a shaker or pint glass, muddle (as in, "squash the bejesus out of") two lime wedges, the blackberries and the sugar (or syrup).
3. Add ice and the cachaça. Cover well and shake vigorously.
4. Pour into a rocks glass and use the remaining wedge of lime for garnish.

Cheers!
Miss Ginsu

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9.04.2008

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