The Sidecar.

Mission accomplished!

The Sidecar.

Here’s a cocktail with a solid 100 years on the clock. Created in Paris (probably at the Ritz Hotel) during the first world war, legend has it that it was the tipple of choice of an army officer who used to travel around in a motorcycle sidecar. At the time such a thing was no doubt considered a bit unusual if not downright eccentric and hence the drink found its name. Consisting originally of equal parts Cognac, lemon juice and Cointreau (known as the French recipe) the Sidecar was later converted to a 2:1:1 ratio (known as the English recipe). But using either of those old school recipes results in a very tart and bracing drink, moderated only slightly by a sugared rim. It does make me wonder if Cointreau was sweeter in the past than it is now. More modern bartenders have brought the drink into a more pleasing balanced form by adding a little more sweetness and – usually – omitting the sugar from the edge of the glass. I think the new version really is a thing of decadent delight even if it’s really just a brandy sour at heart. Choice of brandy is key to a good Sidecar and as a bona fide French Cognac of at least VS level is the minimum requirement. Go VSOP by all means as the extra smoothness will do no harm. Cognac is a delightful spirit to mix with, almost always resulting in a rich and velvety experience, and the Sidecar is the perfect place to begin.


The Sidecar.

1.5oz / 45ml Cognac (I used Courvoisier VS).

0.75oz / 22.5ml fresh lemon juice.

0.75oz / 22.5ml Cointreau (you could also try other orange liqueurs).

0.25oz / 7.5ml simple syrup* (1:1).

Shake well with ice and double strain into a chilled champagne coupé.

Toast Captain X – his name lost to history – and his three-wheeled cocktail quest.


*Skip the syrup element to taste of the old school version.

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Jungle Bird – three versions.

A-well-a ev’rybody’s heard about the bird…

Three little birds.

Created at the Kuala Lumpur Hilton in the mid to late 1970’s the Jungle bird is an unusual Tiki drink in a number of ways. How many bona fide Tiki drinks were created during The Dark Ages? Approximately one. How many Tiki drinks contain Campari? Roughly one. And how many Tiki drinks re-jigged themselves to become modern revival classics? Not all that many. But this little bird had a long and troubled flight to fame. Soon after its birth the poor Jungle Bird was all but extinct, killed off by – yep, you guessed it – The Dark Ages. As so often we have Jeff Berry to thank for the Bird’s resurrection in his 2002 book Intoxica! (which was later folded into Remixed) but the Bird wasn’t done evolving just yet. We’re getting ahead of ourselves though. The original Jungle Bird was a an interesting drink thanks to the unusual inclusion of bitter Campari but it was still pretty mild due to a low rum count and a rather heavy hand on the pineapple juice pour. It was good but not yet great:

Jungle Bird (v1.0 1970’s).

1.5oz Myers Jamaican rum.

0.75oz / 22.5ml Campari.

0.5oz / 15ml fresh lime juice.

0.5oz / 15ml simple syrup (1:1).

4oz / 120ml fresh pineapple juice.†

Shake with ice and pour unstrained into a medium sized glass.

The internet says it was New York startender Giuseppe González* who made the key transformation of slashing the pineapple content and playing around with the rum component in 2010. That resulted in the inclusion of Cruzan Blackstrap, a unique, dark, rich, spicy and sweet Caribbean rum that does a nice little tango with the Campari. As a result it’s a much more satisfying drink than the original:

Jungle Bird (v2.0 2010’s).

1.5oz / 45ml Cruzan Blackstrap rum.

0.75oz / 22.5ml Campari.

0.5oz / 15ml fresh lime juice.

0.5oz / 15ml simple syrup (1:1).

1.5oz / 22.5ml fresh pineapple juice†.

Shake with ice and strain into a glass containing a big ice block.

The problem is that Cruzan has, in recent years, become impossible to acquire here in Europe and the secret pipeline I’m building to St Croix is barely past the Azores. Given this dilemma perhaps we should take a leaf from Giuseppe’s book and work on that rum component ourselves. While there is no close match for Cruzan Blackstrap on these shores we should be looking for something dark and deep. A little more kick wouldn’t go far wrong either. I think this might be a job for one of my favourite rums; Wood’s 100, a navy proof Demerara rum that is bottled and sold in the UK – and sometimes a little further afield. It’s powerful stuff that’ll put hair on your chest and, hopefully, feathers on our Bird:

Jungle Bird (v3.0 2017) aka Surfin’ Bird.

1.5oz / 45ml Wood’s 100 Navy Rum (57%ABV)

0.75oz / 22.5ml Campari.

0.5oz / 15ml fresh lime juice

0.5oz / 15ml simple syrup (1:1).

1.5oz / 22.5ml fresh pineapple juice†.

Shake with ice and strain into a glass containing a big ice block.

Toast the Bird.


*According to research by Thirst Magazine.

†The best option by far is juice squeezed from a fresh pineapple but the bottled juice from a good health food store is a reasonable second choice. Carton juice? Nah, not so much.

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The Gold Rush + A Proper Drink.

The gold standard.

The Gold Rush.

Sometimes you just want a simple cocktail devoid of fancy ingredients and techniques. Sometimes you want a cocktail that doesn’t have a complicated history or backstory. Sometimes you want a Gold Rush. Created by Milk & Honey (kind of) co-founder T.J. Siegal, the Gold Rush contains just three ingredients, all of which you should have to hand: Bourbon, lemons, honey. You can use any bourbon and it will certainly leave its stamp on this very forgiving drink but I like my Gold Rush smooooth. Double charcoal filtered Gentleman Jack – yes, I know it’s technically a Tennessee whisky rather than an actual bourbon – fits the bill quite nicely here, resulting in an extremely high quaffability quotient. And yes, I know the Gold Rush is very, very close to being a Whisky Sour but somehow honey in place of simple syrup makes a big difference. Sasha Petraske must have thought so too as he put it right there on the name of his bar.


The Gold Rush.

20z / 60ml bourbon (I used Gentleman Jack).

0.75oz / 22.5ml fresh lemon juice.

0.75oz / 22.5ml honey syrup (3:1 honey/water).

Shake with ice and strain into a DOF glass containing a large block of ice.

Toast T.J. Siegal for a great drink and allowing M&H to exist.


A Proper Drink.

If you are interested in the story of the cocktail revival I suggest A Proper Drink by Robert Simonson. It’s definitely a book for the cocktail nerd rather than the general public – although it does contain a small number of excellent recipes. But if cocktail nerd is where you’re at – or where you’re headed – this really is essential reading. For me it was the book that finally put all the pieces of the puzzle together. Oh, and The Gold Rush is right there on page 96 at the end of the chapter on Milk & Honey.

A Proper Drink by Robert Simonson. Ten Speed Press ISBN 978-1-60774-754-3.

 

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Apprentice + internet recipe hunting.

You’re fired! Not.

Internet recipe hunting.

We’ve got it easy these days. The internet gives us access to an enormous array of cocktail recipes – and of course I’m pleased to play some small part in that. But the downside of this ocean of cocktails is that there is a lot of crap floating around there too. So how do we recognise a good recipe? Well there are certain clues. Does the recipe look balanced? There should be a balance of sweet to sour or sweet to bitter in almost any decent cocktail so if you are seeing only sweet, only sour or only bitter ingredients that should be an immediate warning sign. Does the recipe call for quality ingredients? Those that call for specific brands are likely to be more considered creations. If a recipe consists of Jagermeister, orange soda and vodka that tells you that it’s some kind of student dare chugger. Are the quantities realistic? You should be looking for a total volume of around 3 – 4.5oz for most cocktails (a bit more for Tiki) and a alcohol equivalence of 1.5-2.5oz at 40%ABV (again a bit more for Tiki). For long drinks you should be seeing something similar but just “lengthened” slightly with ice and soda or a decent mixer such as ginger beer. Of course there will be exceptions and outliers but these tips should filter out most of the dross. On the other hand you also need to be on the lookout for the kind of overworked hipster BS cocktail that’s all presentation without any real quality content. Over-emphasis on the garnish and particularly obscure liqueurs and bitters are your warning signs of this kind of “Fur coat and nae knickers*” drink.

If you do see a recipe that looks interesting, write it down and try it out. If you like it keep that recipe in a safe place for future use. And just in case you should end up writing about it, note the source. While there is no copyright on cocktail recipes (with a trio of silly exceptions) it is considered polite and proper to give credit where due, whether to a particular individual, bar or website. While we on the subject of recipe collection might I recommend the Android app I use for all my recipes. Note Everything is particularly well suited to making a simple cocktail recipe book and the Pro upgrade allows backups to Dropbox. After all it would almost kill us to lose all those great recipes.

Here’s a recipe that caught my eye and now, a few months later, I can’t find the original source. Luckily I wrote down enough details to be able to credit its creator – Trey Hughes of Portland Hunt and Alpine Club. The Apprentice isn’t on their current menu but Trey is mentioned as the bar manager so that seems to fit. It’s an example of the increasingly popular “brown and stirred” category of cocktails that balance spirits, liqueurs and amari of differing sweetness and bitterness. This recipe easily passes the above tests and is devoid of daft garnishes and unnecessary bitters that are there only for exclusivity. Ingredients are (largely) called for by name and reasonably available and the quantities suggest that some fine tuning has taken place. By no means a classic or even a well known drink, the Apprentice is just an example of how to identify a promising original recipe on the internet. To prove the point – I didn’t even make and taste this drink until I’d written all of the above. Is it any good though? Yep, not bad at all. Cheers Trey!


Apprentice.

1.5oz / 45ml rye whiskey (I used Old Overholt).

1oz / 30ml Campari.

o.75oz / 22.5ml Amaro Montenegro.

0.25oz / 7.5ml Heering (an excellent Danish cherry liqueur).

Stir with ice. Strain into a chilled champagne coupé. Garnish optional.

Toast Trey Hughes – creator of the Apprentice.


*Scottish saying: Spending all the money (or effort) on appearance by skimping on the basics.

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The Last Mariachi + mezcal.

Ay, ay, ay, ay.

The Last Mariachi.

Here’s the thing: I’ve recently developed a bit of a mezcal habit. For a long time I thought, like many of us, that mezcal was a cheap and somewhat dodgy version of tequila. And it often was. It turns out the Mexicans have been running a clever game and keeping the good stuff for themselves. Who knew there even was good stuff? Well there most assuredly is and it really is something very special. At the risk of generalisation the good stuff doesn’t contain a drowned worm and inhabits a similar range of prices to single malt Scotch and in many ways the single malt comparison is the best way to think about quality mezcal. Each village makes its own mezcal in a labour intensive and time-honoured fashion from various species of agave plant. It’s a wonderfully aromatic spirit with smoky, spicy, floral and earthy notes and a strange ability to cut through other flavours which makes it a tricky spirit to mix with. That most of the drinks containing mezcal taste mostly of mezcal is fortunately a happy thing but it does make it difficult to let other flavours have their say. I’ve found the solution to this is to use a second spirit to keep the mezcal under control and let other notes back in. As here, a reposado tequila usually does the trick but I’m keeping my options open. This time I decided to see how mezcal responded to the Tiki treatment and I think it was well worth the effort. I almost called it a Mexican Milkshake but I wasn’t sure that sounded very appetising so I settled on The Last Mariachi instead. If you want to release your own inner mariachi you’ll need to know how to make some coconut syrup first: Pour 125ml of boiling water over 220g of fine sugar and stir until clear. Add 250ml coconut milk and stir in. Add 3ml of coconut extract (optional). It will keep in a sterilised bottle in the fridge for several weeks and is also suitable for freezing.


The Last Mariachi.

1oz / 30ml mezcal (I used Los Siete Misterios Doba-Yej*).

1oz / 30ml reposado tequila (I used El Jimador).

1oz / 30ml white grapefruit juice (fresh or good quality bottled).

1oz / 30ml fresh lime juice.

0.5oz / 15ml Licor 43 (a sweet Spanish liqueur with strong vanilla notes).

0.5oz / 15ml coconut syrup (see text above).

Shake with crushed ice and pour unstrained into DOF glass.

Toast Ron Cooper who was largely responsible for freeing the mezcal.


*Del Maguey Vida would be another excellent choice.

 

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The 1015 + “the best bitters in the world*”.

What glows together…

The 1015.

You’ll have to indulge me on this one if you’re not from the good ole Netherlands as all the ingredients in this drink hail from Amsterdam and are, at this time of writing, spectacularly unavailable beyond the Dutch border. We’ve all heard the cookery adage that “what grows together goes together”; well it turns out that works just as well for cocktails as well. A while ago the guys who developed Veld tulip vodka approached me to whip up a couple of recipes for the website and product launch. As well as a couple of bottles of their wonderful tulip vodka they had also brought along a bottle of Willem’s Wermoed (aka vermouth), an only marginally less new (and unconnected) independent startup, to see what we could do with it. It was a total no-brainer to mix these two with another Amsterdam ingredient but that means a bit of a time-out from the main story.

Them Bitters.

Ingredient three was De Ooievaar Angostura bitters or, as I call them, The Best Bitters in the World*. But, don’t they look like a knock-off of real Angostura bitters? I mean can they even call them that? Yes they can, because these ones actually contain Angostra bark and Angostura bitters don’t. De Ooievaar (who mostly go by the name Van Wees – and don’t even ask me why they have two names) are a tiny and, to say the least, idiosyncratic family business who have been making quirky liqueurs (with names like “shirtlifter” and “parrot soup”) and more since at least 1782. Their bitters, delivered in a uniquely bartender-unfriendly stone bottle, are deep, spicy and incredibly well rounded with strong hits of cinnamon and a funky pepperiness that I like to imagine is the Angostura bark talking to me. They come in tiny 40ml bottles and are sometimes a bit tricky to find so I always grab a few bottles whenever I come across them. While I use them a lot I’ve shied from tagging them in many of the recipes on this site due to their scarcity. They are not a replacement for common or garden Angostura in Tiki drinks but in the likes of an Old Fashioned De Ooievaar (trans: the stork) Angostura bitters are revelatory. Just go easy on them: they pack quite a punch.

Three Amsterdammers on their way to a cocktail.

But back to the main story. Willem’s Wermoud is a premium and extremely well crafted Italian style vermouth that’s packed to the gills with botanicals and has a wonderful, almost glowing, coppery hue. Amazingly, not only are these three ingredients from the same city, they are all originate from the same postcode. Yep, that would be 1015 in the very corner of Amsterdam’s maze-like Jordaan district. I just missed out by once living just over the canal in dry old 1013. In any case, with three ingredients this special the recipe virtually wrote itself. Basically an age-old Gin and It with a dash of bitters and Veld in place of gin (Veld is in many senses more of a gin than a vodka anyway) it was simply a case of getting the balance just right. At the proportions below you get to taste the best of each of these great ingredients without them stepping on each others toes – just be careful not to make those dashes of bitters too generous. Earthy, peppery, spicy and just a touch floral, the 1015 is one of my very favourite cocktails.


The 1015.

2oz / 60ml Veld tulip vodka.

0.75oz / 22.5ml Willem’s Wermoud.

2 dashes De Ooievaar Angostura bitters.

Stir with ice and strain into a (small) chilled champagne coupé.

Garnish with a sprig of fresh air.

Toast the Van Wees family for their sublime bitters.


*This being my opinion and not an empirical statement.

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El Diablo.

Diabolically delicious.

El Diablo.

One might be forgiven for thinking that all classic Tiki drinks are rum drinks. The truth is that up to 5% of them use *gasp* other spirits. But this one is truly an outlier among outliers – you can count tequila based Tiki classics on the fingers of one thumb. For some reason tequila just wasn’t on the radar of exotic drink pioneers like Don Beach and Trader Vic despite its abundance just across the Rio Grande. And is wasn’t just them, apart from a brief and desperate flirtation with tequila during prohibition, the spirit was barely touched in the US until the 1950’s. Even the noble Margarita is a relatively recent drink in classic cocktail terms. So The Trader was well ahead of the game when a version of this drink, the Mexican El Diablo, appeared in his 1946 book  Trader Vic’s Book of Food and Drink (a lesser known tome than his influential 1947 Bartender’s Guide). It’s not clear if Vic actually invented this drink or if the recipe came from the same place as the tequila but in any case it was a bit of a flash in the pan. Vic probably didn’t help sales by commenting “Go easy on this one – it’s tough on your running board”. Whatever the reason, it disappeared for well over a decade but then, in 1964, Vic got into the Mexican restaurant business and suddenly the El Diablo was back on the menu. It’s a highly quaffable drink that is mostly overlooked these days but it’s been a guilty pleasure of ours since we put it on the menu of our very first cocktail party back in the late 1990’s.

Don’t fall into the trap of thinking of this as a long drink – the trick to the perfect El Diablo is not to drown it in ginger beer. Speaking of which, try to use a ginger beer with some cojones such as those imported from Jamaica.


El Diablo.

1.5oz / 45ml tequila (I used El Jimador reposado).

0.5oz / 15ml fresh lime juice.

0.75oz / 22.5ml creme de cassis (a blackcurrant liqueur).

2oz / 60ml ginger beer (not ginger ale which is much milder).

Stir gently with ice and strain into a glass filled with crushed ice.

Garnish with a lime slice or wedge.

Toast Trader Vic again – it won’t be the last time.


 

 

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The Paloma / Faith + tequila

Yes, I forgot the lime garnish. Sue me.

The Paloma / Faith + tequlia.

Before we get started, a quick point of order. I’ve had a few readers ask why I publish my recipes in such arcane units as US ounces despite being a European. My reasoning is explained on the measures page but in future I’ll try to remember to include metric alternatives in all my recipes. Feel free to berate me in the comments if I forget. Frankly, I’m too lazy to go back and alter all the older recipes so let’s just call it a grudging compromise and move on. Anyway:

The most popular tequila based mixed drink in Mexico is, perhaps surprisingly, not the Margarita but the Paloma – which is Spanish for dove. Comprised of a generous measure of tequila over ice topped up with grapefruit soda and a wedge of lime, you could think of it as a Mexican gin and tonic. I know what you’re thinking; “we can do better than that!” And you are quite right. But before we get to work let’s talk tequila’s place in cocktails:

There is tequlia and there is tequila. And in my opinion we should only ever use the latter; that being the kind that clearly states “100% agave” on the label. The reason so many people will tell you they hate tequila is because they’ve never actually had real tequila. What they’ve had – often long ago – is some cheap “mixto” tequila which was fired down their throat when they’d had far too much to drink already. The shot of tequila ends up getting the blame for the hangover that the ten previous drinks caused. Real tequila is a wonderful and very natural spirit that is both well regulated and a joy to explore. Once we’re safely into the 100% agave zone the market is quite fragmented with dozens of brands to choose between at quite a wide range of prices. Furthermore there are three grades of pure tequila; blanco/silver (unaged), reposado (slightly aged) and anejo (aged). While tequila prices can vary considerably there is not usually a great deal of price difference within the same brand for these three types. That being so, I really can’t see much point in using white tequila when you can have smoother and more flavourful reposado or even anejo for just a little more. To cut to the point I like to stock a good budget reposado and a more mid-range anejo for my mixing purposes. As usual the high end offerings are best left for sipping, their finer nuances lost in a cocktail. For a long drink like the Paloma which contains a significant quantity of other flavours I use a good value reposado and keep the anejo for more spirit-forward drinks. In this case I used El Jimador reposado which is an excellent value for money 100% agave tequila and, apparently, the best selling tequila in Mexico. I figured 120 million Mexicans can’t be wrong. A jimador is the hombre who harvests the agave plants which is a tough but highly skilled job. I think you can see where I’m going with this…

So back to our Paloma. My version of the Paloma was born out of a lack of grapefruit soda in my neck of the woods but it was soon clear that it was likely to benefit from couple of upgrades along the way. The grapefruit soda is replaced with a good glug of either fresh (if available) or high quality bottled white grapefruit juice, a little lime juice, some agave syrup and just a splash of soda water. Reposado tequila instead of silver also lifts our game significantly. The float of mezcal is entirely optional but, in my opinion, really takes it to the next level. As a result of these tweaks our pimped-out Paloma is less fizzy than the original but much more flavourful. While it’s moved a long way from the original recipe I feel I still need to pay homage to the base drink so I decided to name it after a singer who likes to sing about responsible drinking – Paloma Faith.


Paloma Faith.

2oz / 60ml reposado tequila (I used El Jimador).

3oz / 90ml white grapefruit juice, fresh if possible otherwise quality bottled*.

0.5oz / 15ml fresh lime juice.

0.75oz / 22.5ml agave syrup*.

Shake with ice and strain into an iced Collins glass.

Top up with soda (about 2-3oz / 60-90ml) and stir.

Float a teaspoon (5ml) of good quality mezcal on top.

Garnish with a slice or wedge of lime.

Toast the jimadors – whose hard graft makes tequila possible.


*Both agave syrup and bottled white grapefruit juice should be available at your local health food shop.

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The Last Word.

Word up! Word? Up? Never mind.

The Last Word –

Bartenders talk about this drink in hushed reverential tones for it is truly a masterpiece of liquid engineering. Probably originating from the Detroit Athletics Club around a century ago, The Last Word is an unlikely sounding equal parts mixture of gin, lime juice, green Chartreuse and maraschino liqueur. Our cocktail compass tells us that one part of lime juice to two parts of pretty sweet liqueurs should make for a rather syrupy and unbalanced drink but The Last Word stubbornly refuses to comply with our expectations. Outrageous! How dare it be so balanced, so delicate, so complex? Yet the Last Word was, nor is, a superstar cocktail. It spent most of its life in the shadows and even after its 2004 resurrection at the hands of Seattle bar legend Murray Stenson it remains something of a bartenders cocktail. The ability to mix a good Word is the measure of a skilled bartender; while the proportions are easy to remember, attention to detail and precision are essential. A drop too much of either of the liqueurs, a lack of dilution or an under-chilled glass can kill this beauty stone dead. By now you should really have three of the ingredients for this wonderful cocktail and the green Chartreuse, while on the pricey side (especially outside of Europe), is an investment that will last many years. It’s an intriguingly complex liqueur that’s worth having for this recipe – and its variations – alone. At this juncture I consider it my duty to inform you that the colour is named after the drink and not vice versa. Who says this isn’t an educational blog? One last word; if there was ever a surefire way to endear yourself to the bartender, it’s to order a Last Word. Or to tip generously.

                                                 – or is it?

The number of drinks that the Last Word has spawned is hard to track and, indeed, the dust is yet to settle on many of those variations. Some are so far removed from the original (such as the Paper Plane) that all that remains are the equal proportions, while other versions have clashes of names and claims of authorship. Subbing a good mezcal such as Del Maguey Vida for the gin makes the delicious La Ultima Palabra. Or is that called the Closing Argument? Or is Simone de Luca’s version that adds a(n equal) measure of pineapple juice and a sprig of thyme the true Ultima Palabra? Gaz Regan says so and he’s Gaz Regan. And what of Phil Ward’s Final Ward with rye for gin and lemon for lime? Murray, Murray, what have you unleashed?


The Last Word.

0.75oz London dry gin.

0.75oz fresh lime juice.

0.75oz maraschino liqueur.

0.75oz green Chartreuse (not yellow).

Shake well with ice and strain (double strain if preferred) into a well chilled champagne coupé.

Toast Murray Stenson for bringing this lost classic back to life.


Feel free to try the variants above as they are actually all rather good too.

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The Caipirinha + muddling.

Stuck in the muddle with you…

The Caipirinha –

When it’s hot, muggy and energy is hard to muster, there’s nothing quite like a Caipirinha to pick us up. No wonder then that it’s the national drink of Brazil. The base spirit of the Caipirinha (which roughly translates as “peasant girl”) is cachaça of which Brazilians produce over 1.5 billion litres of each year and consume almost all of themselves. Respect. Cachaça is a sugarcane juice distillate that is either sold unaged or aged in wood barrels. So it’s rum? Yes and no. Without going into details let’s just say it’s a close relative to rum. In its basic unaged form it’s inexpensive and kind of rough but with addition of sugar, lime and some crushed ice it is magically transformed into something truly transcendent. It’s always puzzled me because if you did the same thing with some dodgy bottom-shelf white rum it would taste like crap, yet the Caipirinha is fresh, bright, earthy and just rrrrghhehh ngheheh – it’s just fabulous. Don’t be tempted to stray too far from the formula below; while cleverly worded variations may sound appealing there is no need whatsoever to mess with the best budget drink in the cocktail canon.

                            – and the art of muddling:

The Caipirinha is made in the glass so no shaker is required, instead you’ll need a muddler. In cocktailworld we like to use fancy words for simple things to make us seem special. So if you don’t have a muddler any fat stick will do. For example I used a wooden pestle for years until a wood-turning friend (cheers Tom!) made me the King of all Muddlers (see picture). But, really, anything with a wide flat end will do – so at last you’ll have a use for that Harry Potter wand you got for your birthday. Proceed thusly: In a large squat glass (a double old fashioned glass is optimal) throw half of a fresh lime cut into four wedges followed by two teaspoons of sugar (fine is best). Using your chosen muddler press the juice from the wedges and work the sugar and juice together. Give a twist as you press. Try not to totally destroy the lime as this will release unwanted bitterness from the pith – you just want enough pressure to get the juice and oils out and into the sugar. Congratulations, you are now a certified muddler. Now simply add the cachaça and top up with crushed ice. Give it all a good stir, making sure that the sugar gets lifted from the bottom of the glass and mixed in well with the cachaça. Indeed, leaving some kind of stirring implement is a good idea. This is one case where I don’t suggest using sugar syrup in place of granulated sugar as, to me, the occasional unexpected sweet hit of a little undissolved sugar is a crucial part of the experience.


Cairpirinha.

2oz cachaça (I like 51 brand even though it’s dirt cheap).

Half a large lime cut into four wedges.

2 teaspoons of white sugar.

Muddle as described above.

Toast those top scoopers – the Brazilians. Ordem e Progresso!


 

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