Sugar Cane Juice

Our friendly bartender juices some sugar cane

The Brazilians seem to juice just about everything imaginable here. Simple roadside fruit carts pulled by horses and fancy city juice bars are prevelent just about everywhere.  Our first night in Brazil we were taken to a shop in the small rural town near our place for sugar cane juice.  I’d heard of this before.  I knew that cane juice existed. In fact,I think I once had fresh cane juice in a cocktail from a fancy bar in Los Angeles many years ago.  I suppose I didn’t realize that people drank this stuff straight and pure, right out of the juicer.  And I certainly didn’t believe that one could have a storefront business selling only this.  But you can. And it’s right here in town.

We ordered at the bar sitting immediately adjacent to the sidewalk.  Standing halfway along the walking path and halfway in the bar, we were handed each an empty glass and waited for our friendly ‘bartender’ to prepare our juice.  Yes, a glass. The kind you put in the dishwasher.  There are no ‘to go’ cups here.  This was a bit bothersome to my american mind as I wished to sip the juice slowly.  Sadly, a leasurely drink was not to be had.  The bartender grabbed a stack of sugar cane from a make-shift rack above the juicer and started loading them into the machine until a plastic pitcher was full.  Sugar cane is quite dense and juicing it appeared to be an athletic effort.  It was entertaining to watch, and he seemed quite happy that we were so interested.  He filled our glasses, and waited for us to drink down so he could refill until the pitcher was empty.  The concoction tastes exactly how one would think cane juice tastes: sweet.  Very sweet.  Maybe with a touch of a grassy flavor.  But mainly it’s a punch of sugar, and you are expected to drink this fast.  The sugar high that follows is nearly immediate. Would I try this again?  Of course! It was good.  But next time, I’ll ask for some extra ice.. and a chair.

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