Caipirinha Love

The caipirinha goes way beyond a national drink. It appears to be the only drink in common place here. It can be found in sidewalk street carts, in shopping malls, and at beach stands, boasting tall displays of stacked fruits and various bowls of berries. Unlike the complicated and overpriced ‘delicacy’ found in upscale american bars, Brazil’s caipirinha is disturbingly simple- and about as perfect as anyone one could imagine. It’s a metaphor for the entire culture.

Sugar and fruit muddled, ice, and your choice of alcohol. For some reason I always thought the preparation was so much more complicated, and am now proud to say I make an awfully good one – simply from watching. While the cachaca we see for $20 a bottle in the states is on every store shelf here for R$5, it is also ridiculed as the cheap hangover stuff. There are also good kinds of cachaca- aged cachacas and cachacas made with passionfruit or mango. Enough of a variety to fill a wall in a liquor store in Mina Gerais. And if you prefer, as many here do, there is always the option of vodka – for what is referred to as a Caipiroska. The fruit: lime, watermelon, acerola, passionfruit, pitanga, cashew fruit, yellow melon, mango, Ginger, guava, pineapple, graviola… list goes on. The fruit here is a national pride, recognized for the truly unbelievable natural perfection it is. And the drink is meant to highlight the fruit, which it certainly does to a tee. Trust us, you won’t even guess there is alcohol in this….

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