In Brazil, June is marked by a myriad of festivals, celebrations and saints’ holidays, collectively known as festas juninas.
Although the locals will likely be drinking hotter drinks during these winter celebrations in the Southern Hemisphere, those of us on the side of the equator where June is summertime can celebrate with a colder taste of Brazil.
The caipirinha (pronounced KYE-per-EEN-ya) is the country’s most popular cocktail, and it’s delicious. Made with lime and simple syrup, it’s similar to the Cuban mojito, which uses rum.
The base of the caipirinha, cachaça (pronounced ka-SHA-sa), is similar to rum in that it also is made from sugar cane and has the same percent of alcohol by volume (40 percent), though they have decidedly different flavors. Cachaça is Brazil’s national spirit and one of the biggest-selling liquors in the world. It was virtually unknown in the United States until distribution picked up in recent years.
It’s on the verge of breaking into the American cocktail scene, but you’ll be hard-pressed to order a caipirinha here. Only Elle has a caipirinha on the menu. But you can make it at home because two liquor stores here sell cachaça.
ORDER A CAIPIRINHA
ELLE, A WINE COUNTRY RESTAURANT
3048 E. Broadway, 327-0500
• Classic Caipirinha (made with Leblon brand cachaça): $8.50
RUMRUNNER WINE AND CHEESE CO.
3200 E. Speedway Blvd., 326-0121
• Leblon: $29.99
• Coral: $25
• Cachaça 51: $19.99
PLAZA LIQUORS AND FINE WINES
2642 N. Campbell Ave., 327-0452
• Toucana: $25.99
• Leblon: $23.35
• Pitu: $16.80
• Ypioca: $16.35