Let me introduce you to Brazil’s national drink… Caipirinha! My first taste of caipirinha was in 1996 when we visited Brazil. We had just been for lunch at a kilo grill on Avenida Paulista, where Jorge ordered caipirinha for me. It was June, but very, very hot – at least, by my mild South African standards. The caipirinha was soooo refreshing and considering my love of anything lemony… well… I enjoyed it so much that I had a second one. Stepping back out into the heat of the day definitely made my cheeks rosy and inspired a fondness for my husband (judging by the way I clung to him as I walked).Yes, caipirinha is to be had in small doses and not for the weak or innocent. I have seen Brazilians knock neat cachaça back like water. How they do it is quite beyond me. The word ‘Caipirinha’ means ‘little hillbilly’.
To make caipirinha:
2 tsp granulated sugar (to taste. I often use sweetener, as I can’t tolerate sugar)
8 lime wedges
2 1/2 oz cachaça (Brazilian cane spirit)
Crush the sugar into the lime wedges in a whisky glass. Fill the glass with ice cubes. Pour the cachaça into the glass. Stir well. Serve.
There are other versions of caipirinha. Some make it with other fruit juices, replacing the lime. Then there are those who can’t take or don’t like cachaça and use vodka. The caipirinha is then called a caipiroska.
The photo above was taken at Paraty. It was my friend’s son’s birthday, so the four of us, Anne, Gerhard, Tat and myself went to this lovely restaurant in Paraty. The service was out of this world. In fairness, we gave the waiters their night’s entertainment though. We sat outside because Anne had her two dogs with her, Lucy and Magnum. The streets were made up of huge cobblestones, which lent a decidedly unstable setup for our tables. Whenever we went out as a group, we laughed, literally, all the way through dinner and when we laughed, we laughed hard and it had absolutely nothing to do with what we did or didn’t have to drink. I think the staff were just tickled at our antics. Towards the end of the meal, Anne was talking animatedly and flailing her arms. In mid-flail, she knocked my glass of caipirinha over… over me! So there I was, smelling like a distillery, soaked, laughing so hard, the tears were running and the glass, shattered on the table. The waiter was a star. He replaced the table cloth, gave me something to attempt a clean-up (thank goodness we were outside) and Anne bought me another drink, which I felt the need to protect; thus the photo above. Ah…. we had some good times. I know that the weekend was special and each of us remembers it with smiles.