Many couples have told me that my caipirinhas have rekindled the romance in their marriage and have prodded me for my “secret” recipe. To be honest, there is no great secret in making caipirinhas if you are Brazilian, but Gringos have a difficult time getting in the “right” frame of mind. The “secret” to making great caipirinhas is passion. Unless you are in a passionate state of mind when mashing the limes and pure cane sugar, your caipirinha is likely to fall flat.
Brazilians are always passionate. However, Gringos, who spend most of their waking hours texting, talking on their cell phones and generally worrying about one thing or another, simply lack the energy to be passionate. As such, they need to be prompted to get in the appropriate frame of mind. For instance, I get passionate by reading Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s Love Sonnets before mashing limes. Others have different routines to get passionate:
- Lord Cheseline reads the Harvard Crew News online;
- The Dish watches reruns of I Love Lucy;
- Bogey Pinson strongly recommends Golf Digest
- Pit Bull makes a trade for a fantasy baseball player.
Whatever technique works for you, “passion” is the secret ingredient of a great caipirinha. In fact, “passion” just might be the most important component of living a long and healthy life.
Enough philosophy! A caipirinha is made from fermented sugar cane alcohol or cachaça. Caipirinha is the national drink of Brazil; however, many foreigners and a few Brazilians often substitute Vodka (“caipiroska”) or Rum (“caipirissima”) for cachaça. I find this to be a gross assault on the sovereign dignity of Brazil, but I have learned to live with it. Every Brazilian has got his special local source of home-made cachaça, but I have found that commercial cachaça or pinga is more than suitable for most caipirinhas. My favorite commercial pinga is Pantanal, but the readily available 51 is a reasonable substitute. The important thing is to get a clear (not yellow) pinga rather than the aged cachaça which is better for sipping.
The following video shows you how to take the ends off the lime and take out the center core. I normally try to use 1 1/2 limes and 2 Tbs of sugar cane sugar.
Sugar is the key ingredient and most of the sugars in the US are over-processed and made with sugar beets (not sugar cane). We have experimented with honey, confectioners sugar and brown sugar combinations, but find that coarse granulated sugar from sugar cane works best.
Get passionate and experiment now and restore the romance in your life. You will be glad you did and your partner might also enjoy it.