The Booze Blog - Alcohol, Bars, Malaysia and Beyond.

29 October 2014

The IBA Project: Caipirinha

A wild Caipirinha!
The Grandfather Story:
  • Caipirinha is derived from the Portuguese word - caipira (hick, hayseed, country bumpkin, rube...) and "inha" suffix (a word meaning little or small).
  • Its beginnings can be traced back to around 1918.
  • It is Brazil's national cocktail and it is drank anytime, anywhere.
  • The ancestor of this drink was  a mix of lemon, garlic, honey - supposedly used as cure for the Spanish flu (still used for colds today). 
Fun fact: Cachaca is about 400 years old. While it is the most popular drink in Brazil (it was apparently invented by the Portugese), it is regarded as a poor man's drink. It's meant to be sipped slowly in small glass or downed as a shot. Brazilians who drink it straight would first purposely spill a few drops for the Saints before drinking it.

Cachaca is also (erroneously) known as Brazillian rum (there is a story behind this, feel free to Google it up).

While both rum and Cachaca are derived from distillation and sugarcane, the difference between rum and Cachaca is this: Rum is distilled from Molasses, Cachacha is distilled from fermented sugarcane juice.

Strength & Taste:
Easy drinking, cold and refreshing. Good for hot weathers! It's a sweeter version of a daiquiri, and the sugarcane flavour is more prominent because of the Cachaca. If you are a fan of the mojito or an original daiquiri, you may like this. I say may, because I don't quite - there is a reason for this, if you don't mind reading on.

Gently muddle. Please don't bash it in.
IBA standard recipe & method:
Recipe:
5 cl Cachaca
Half fresh lime cut into 4 wedges
2 teaspoon sugar

Method:
Place lime and suger in old fashion glass and muddle.
Fill glass with (crushed?) ice and Cachaca

Variations:
  • Cubed ice is the original Brazilian way. Crushed ice became a popular fad and you are likely to see this out of Brazil.
  • Can be served with or without a straw.
  • You may use syrup instead of sugar. (2 tspn sugar approx. 1 oz. simple syrup 1:1)
  • You may add club soda to dilute your drink
  • Replacing Cachaca with Vodka makes it a Caipiroska

Thoughts & Observations:
  • I prefer using sugar syrup as I don't want to risk crunching on any bits of undiluted sugar. 
  • I suspect brown sugar would bring out the sugarcane flavour more. 
  • No muddler? No problem. Any hard phallic object will do. All you want to do is to bruise the limes gently to release the lovely limey oils from their skin and juice the pulp - not squish them into a unrecognisable matter.
  • Unless I'm mistaken, there are only 2 brands of cachacas which are (sort of) easily available in Malaysia's bigger and more "atas" grocery shops - Sagatiba & Cachaca 51.
  • IBA's version is not strong enough for me, neither does it taste of anything substantial because I can't taste the spirit much, nor the lime - probably because the crushed ice melted too fast in this humid weather.
  • Also I suspect that the lime used in the IBA's version is a humongous one because using HALF a lime is simply not sufficient with the teeny tiny local limes we have here.
  • I prefer cubed ice over crushed simply because it melts slower, and doesn't dilute my drink as fast - I would like it to taste stronger (I seem to say this in every recipe lol)
  • I prefer to serve it with a straw otherwise the damn ice gets onto you nose every time you try to take a sip.
  • I'm not sure if it's the cachaca or the way I'm making this drink, but it has a this fermented aftertaste / smell. If that's how it really is meant to taste, this is definitely not going to be a favourite.

 
 LH: Caipirinha on the rocks. RH: Caipirinha in crushed ice

My Preference:
1 fresh lime, cut into halved wedges + couple more for garnish.
2 shots of cachaca (note: this makes a really strong drink)
1/2 shot sugar syrup (1:2 sugar)

Pour sugar syrup & lime into in double rock glass. Muddle limes. Add Cachaca + ice.
Stir until you feel happy with the strength of your drink.
Garnish it with a couple of lime wedges for added prettiness and squeeze them a little for a limey scent. Serve with straw.

Sources & for more:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Caipirinha
http://www.diffordsguide.com/cocktails/recipe/354/caipirinha-1-brazilian-serve
About cachaca: http://www.brazil-help.com/cachaca.htm
More on cachaca: http://www.caipirinharecipes.com/the-history-of-cachaca/

Click me for the list of drinks that's been covered in the IBA Project

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