Working behind the simple plastic table, the beach bartender’s hands move with the efficient speed born from hours of repetitive practice. The mashing of the lime, the quick, unmeasured scoops of sugar, and then that oh so magical elixir – cachaça! Cachaça, the powerful firewater distilled from cane sugar native to Brazil. Ice is added and the drink shaken before being poured into my plastic cup, straw added, and placed in front of me. For ten reals, around $3.50 US, this beachside tea ceremony-like display can be seen all over the beaches and bars of Brazil. And what is this lovely concoction you may ask? Why, it’s a caipirinha of course!
Copacabana Beach, but this scene can be found daily at any beach in Brazil
The caipirinha is a cocktail with a simple yet delicate balance of crushed lime, ice, sugar, and of course cachaça. It is a delicious concoction in which too much of any one ingredient and it will become anything but delicious. It is wonderfully refreshing, yet powerfully strong. It is best appreciated on a warm day at the beach, but please be warned; only tourists drink more than one, and for good reason!
So many good times!
So you may ask, why only one caipirinha? Because one is relaxing and helps you to take that luxuriously peaceful nap on the beach. Two caipirinhas, and suddenly you are talking a lot – and loudly. After three, you may find yourself swimming in the ocean with all of your clothes on, or at a samba club with complete strangers – waking up the next day with no recollection of what happened the night before! Hopefully you will still have your wallet.
Um, maybe I have a slight caipirinha issue!
So please take heed to my advice as we made the same mistake once (or twice – now that I look back at all the various pictures of me with caipirinhas!) as have countless others who luckily survived to tell about it. I’m not sure how many did not survive as they do not keep statistics on that type of thing in Brazil.
Now if you are still willing to brave the consequences in order to try this amazing concoction I promise you that it will be love at first taste – and you will come to agree that the Caipirinha truly is the greatest drink in the world!