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Cover: Shaken and stirred

Recipes with fire water

05Jun 12


CaipirinhaToday, I want to share my favourite beach drink with you; it goes hand-in-hand with a country which I dream of and cherish as one of the highlights of my travels: Brazil. The drink is called ‘Caipirinha’, and to me it closes the circle round a perfect afternoon at a Brazilian beach bar, while contemplating the ocean or chatting with the locals.

The secret to a good Caipirinha, as a Rastafarian barman told me while making me one at Praia Do Amor (the Beach of Love) just outside Pipa in the North of Brazil, is to choose the right cachasa and limes. Cachasa is a fire water, and is basically made with cane sugar plants and a very simple distilation process. Thus, there are many Brazilians who make their own cachasa. Limes are grown and exported from Brazil to the rest of the world, and are for this reason delicious and very cheap in the country. One word of advice: do not, please, ever try and make a Caipirinha with lemons; the taste is horrible and it does not remind you of the ocean.

That night in Brazil I went to bed with the Rastafarian barman’s words circling in my head: ‘a good drink must never be short of the three things for which the Caipirinha is renowned: a little sweetness, a citric touch and a wonderful sense of freshness’.

So, If you want to surprise your friends with a different evening drink, make them Caipirinha and you will notice their hips starting to move as if they were actually Brazilians!


  • 4.5 cl Cachaça Fire Water (ask in your local Latin American store)
  •  2 limes cut into quarters
  • 3 generous spoonfuls of sugar
  • crushed ice

How it’s made:

  1. Put limes and sugar in a mortar.
  2. Crush the two ingredients until the limes have lost most of their juice, but never remove them. (This is an important part of making Caipirinhas, you must leave the limes in.)
  3. Add Cachasa and mix for a minute inside the mortar and then put in a cocktail shaker with crushed ice until it is half full. Shake thoroughly for a minute and then pour into a short whisky glass. (Caipirinhas are not served in cocktail glasses.) It looks good, and you get to drink plenty of them!
  4. For the final touch, add two straws and enjoy the evening and the hip movement!

Time: 5 minutes

Makes: 1 Cocktail

Note: If you like lime in your drink, have a look at these other “love potions” for more cocktail ideas.

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30May 12


MojitoWhen I think of my days in Cuba, I think of gorgeous sandy beaches, exotic women with big white smiles, the face of Che Guevara on sign posts everywhere, and of Ernest Hemingway. During my stay in La Habana, I could sense his presence in many of the little streets of the old part of the city. Following in his footsteps I ended up in La Bodeguita, a local bar where Hemingway, according to the legend, used to sit and write. Ernesto, the oldest barman in the place, said he did sit there, but didn´t write as much as taste Mojitos, the drink the Bodeguita prides itself on. The Mojito, in honor of Hemingway and the beautiful island of Cuba, is going to be our cocktail of the day.

The Mojito is a drink made with rum, which is fire water made by distilling sugar cane and is the first national drink of the New World. It is a drink which affects the nose more than the eyes. It may look a little uninteresting at first sight, but as soon as one experiences its scent and taste, it becomes a must for outdoor experiences and hot afternoons. I prefer the traditional drink, but a gooseberry mojito is nice as well.

The Mojito’s secret is the mint and the role it plays in the final aroma and taste of the cocktail. It is a perfect drink for a day in the countryside, for if there is a stream running nearby, there is almost certainly mint growing somewhere in the river bed. On a sunny July afternoon, Mojitos go perfectly with cucumber sandwiches and good company. The aroma of fresh mint and rum, mixed up with lemon juice and syrup will drive your senses crazy and give you a Hemingway experience wherever you may be.

What you need
• 4.5 cl of white rum
• Two stalks of fresh mint
• 1.5 cl of lemon juice
• 2 spoonfuls Syrup (or sugar)
• Ice (preferably crushed)
• Splash of mineral water

How Ernesto made it for Ernest

1. Put mint in a tall glass, with lemon juice and syrup. Let it sit for a few minutes, and then crush the mint against the sides of the glass without breaking the stalks, as you need to free that special mint aroma.
2. Once you have accomplished this, fill your tall glass with ice and add rum. Top it off with mineral water.
3. Now you are ready for a real sensation of a drink.

Time: 5 minutes
Makes: 1 cocktail

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