One of my wonderful nieces brought me a bottle of cachaça from Brazil. It’s a spirit similar to rum but made from sugar cane juice (rum is usually distilled from molasses).
I thought the Da Mata was similar to some of the more flavourful white rums I’ve had – like Havana Club Añejo Blanco. Sipping it straight, there was an initial alcohol “burn” but a lovely sweet aftertaste. I read somewhere that cachaça is the 3rd most popular spirit in the world (they didn’t say what numbers 1 and 2 are – I’m guessing vodka is one of them). Since it’s hardly drunk outside of Brazil, the Brazilians must really love their cachaça.
One of the best things you can do with cachaça is make a caipirnha, the so-called “national cocktail” of Brazil:
Cut the ends off a lime
Cut the lime in half length-wise and remove the white pith. Cut the lime half into pieces and put in a double rocks glass.
Add superfine sugar (aka berry sugar or castor sugar) to taste .
Using a muddler, smush the lime pieces and sugar together. Try not to break the skin of the lime – you want to release the juice, not the bitter oils. I bought my muddler at a restaurant supply store for a buck and a half.
Fill the glass with crushed ice.
Add cachaça to fill the glass (or measure 2 ounces).
Pour the contents of the glass into a cocktail shaker and shake vigorously until well mixed and the sugar is dissolved.
Pour back into the glass and garnish with a lime wedge.
Posted by Jean Poutine