by James Butler and Vicki Liley
New Holland Publishers, Sydney, 2003
Cooking/drinking on page 32
Having spent several months in Brazil in the last few years, I was thrilled to find a page-32 recipe for the famous caipirinha. So I checked out this book from the local library.
The base of the drink is cachaça, which is the most popular distilled alcoholic beverage in Brazil. Following on from that, caipirinhas are the country’s national drink.
So let the party begin!
1 lime, cut into eighths
3 brown sugar cubes
2 fl oz (60 ml) cachaça
Put lime and sugar cubes into an old-fashioned glass. Muddle until juice is extracted and sugar is crushed. Fill glass with ice cubes and top with cachaça. Mix well.
How it played out
Made from sugarcane juice, cachaça is dirt-cheap in its home country of Brazil. Unfortunately, it costs a bomb in Australia.
I’ve also discovered that not all cachaças are created equally. The brand I bought cost almost $60 for 700ml. It is highly rated on Australian bottle shop/liquor store websites and was the only brand in-store when I shopped. Since then I’ve found another, cheaper brand. It is likened to bathtub gin, but costs $39 for 700ml. Geez, still a steep price for bath water.
Limes aren’t cheap here either. Out-of-season they cost as much as $1.20 each. Today I bought a bag of seven large ones for $4.
The recipe itself was super easy to make once I figured out that one brown sugar cube is equal to 3/4 of a teaspoon of soft brown sugar. I needed to know this because I’ve never seen brown sugar cubes in Australia.
I enjoyed caipirinhas when I was in Brazil. This recipe compares favourably.
While I think it’s sensible to buy a better quality cachaça, I’m sure any sugar can be used. I certainly never saw brown sugar cubes being used in Brazil. Besides brown sugar gives the drink a slightly muddy colour.
Speaking of muddy and muddle. The latter means to mash with a muddler or spoon. Now excuse me while I go muddle another with a spoon. Who owns a muddler?
Oh, and a comment about the main picture. The fabulous figurine was a gift from Fernanda, one of our Brazilian exchange students. We hosted her in Australia and then enjoyed the hospitality of her family both times we’ve been in Brazil. The figurines have a name, but I can’t remember what it is—anyone know?
P.S. If you’re interested in knowing more about Brazil, my travel blog recounts some of our travels there including a colourful visit to the Lapa Steps in Rio de Janeiro. Or check out my other page-32 Brazilian recipe, red berry fruit juice.