Do you know what cachaca is?

Can you tell that spring is around the corner?
The days are already longer, flowers started blooming and you just feel it in the air.
Time to think: cocktails! During the cold winter months personally I am not very eager to drink any cocktails, mostly because of the crushed ice. I need something to warm me up, not cool me down. But now that the winter is almost gone, let’s see what’s the new trend around.

Because Canadians are way behind Europeans in adopting new beverages, the hot Brazilian item, dubbed cachaca has just started showing around the trendy Yaletown in Vancouver.

Cachaca, pronounced ka-sha-sa, it is the new ‘it’ factor. It is an alcoholic beverage, the product of distillation of fermented sugarcane juice.

It looks like Brazilians are trying pretty hard to use their most abundant resource at maximum profitability. Sugarcane has been used in Brazil to make ethanol fuel, and most of the Brazilian cars run on this alternative fuel, with multiple benefits, among them being the cost and the environmental protection.
Now, the next big step is to make people ‘fuel’ their body with the distillate product of sugarcane.
Cachaca it’s coming with a big ambition: to replace the popular tequila.

Personally I have not tried it yet and I am not even sure it can be found in the normal liquor stores. But I am trying to get the information about it and mostly about the cocktails to be made, for our summer gatherings with friends.

The popular cocktail made with cachaca is caipirinha, pronounced ky-pee-reenyas
According to some Brazilians, the recipe includes:
– 1 lime
– 2 oz cachaca
– sugar to taste
– ice cubs
Wash and cut the top and the bottom of the lime.
Then cut the lime in small pieces.
Put the small pieces in a glass, sprinkle with sugar crush them with a wooden pestle (muddler) just long enough to release the juice. Don’t overdo it because the lime will get bitter.
Add the cachaca and stir making sure that the sugar is dissolved. Add the crushed ice and vigorously mix it again. Cheers!

For variations use other fruits instead of a lime: strawberries, pineapple, watermelon, kiwi, sweet tangerine, passion fruit and mint.
If you want to follow the Brazilian trend, make a caipirinha with sake and lychee, and in this case it is dubbed sakerinha.
Apparently you can substitute cachaca with vodka and follow the above steps, at that point the beverage will be caipiroska; or if you use the white rum, you will get a caipirissima.

Price wise I expect to see a big increase compared to the price in Brazil. In Brazilian supermarkets a bottle of almost one litre cost the equivalent of $3.50. I can only presume that the retail price in Vancouver would be closer the tequila’s, about to $30 and more per 750 ml.

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