The greatest aspect of the cocktail renaissance is that people are making cocktails at home once again. Home bar kit sales have skyrocketed in recent years, as most anyone who entertains or simply enjoys a post-work drink at home now owns a basic set of bar tools.
One tool that doesn’t get nearly enough use is the muddler. Some of you mat have unpacked your new bar kit and wondered why they included a miniature Billy club. Well that little club is designed to crush fruit and not for controlling unruly visitors.
A muddler is essential in creating either a mojito or a caipirinha. Today we want to focus on the caipirinha, which is the national drink of Brazil and made with their number-one spirit, Cachaça. This is a very popular drink in bars and restaurants and it is dead simple to make at home. The caipirinha relies on just three essential ingredients: Cachaça, lime, and simple syrup (or sugar). In terms of equipment you simply need a rocks glass and a muddler.
The method is simple. Cut the lime into six pieces and put the pieces in the rocks glass. (This assumes a small lime. If you are using a large lime you will be okay with just half the lime.) Add a half-ounce of simple syrup and commence with the muddling. Muddling is simple and fun as well. While gripping the handle end use the business end to press and crush the fruit. Don’t be shy about it as it is essential to extract both the juice of the lime and the oils from the zest. Now you can top with ice and a generous two ounces of Cachaça.
That’s it, now you are a caipirinha master. You can always add more lime, simple syrup, or Cachaça to better suit your taste. With the classic conquered we can now look at the many possible variations. With just three ingredients it is vital to maintain the delicate balance of the cocktail. Of course, Cachaça is vital. No Cachaça, no caipirinha.
For our caipirinha themed party we are using a collection of fruits and a trio of flavored simple syrups. In the fruit department we have prepared cut tangerines, pineapple cubes, pitted red cherries, and strawberry as well as limes.
Simple syrup is a quick and easy way to add a dose of sweetness to any beverage and it offers the perfect opportunity to add stealth flavors. We have chosen three flavors: chili, star anise, and ginger.
With your fruits and syrups prepared you and your guests can use your imaginations to create new flavor combinations. Star anise syrup with strawberry is an instant classic. Ditto for chili with pineapple and ginger with cherry.
Of course you can use any fruit or combinations that you like. Don’t be afraid to experiment, have fun, and drink sensibly.