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Cheers – “Sweet, Tart & Sexy”

Pameladevi Govinda

Touted as the Mojito’s next of kin, the Caipirinha showcases Brazilian cachaças with flair and is seducing bartenders and guests from coast to coast.

Lately, I’ve been bombarded with all things Brasileiro: in hip magazines, fashion stories, on radio play lists, and of course, on cocktail menus. The week of Rio’s carnival, I find myself at Sugarcane with Karyn Riegel, marketing director for Beleza Pura; parent company Excalibur Enterprise is definitely the first company to fill the hole for super premium cachaça, a Brazilian sugarcane distillate just now attracting attention stateside. Sugarcane is the lounge spot to Sushi Samba in New York City, which artfully blends Japanese, Brazilian and Peruvian cuisine, décor, and drinks. It’s early evening on a Tuesday, but the bar is packed and good lookers are sitting at tables sipping Latin cocktails while nibbling sushi rolls.

Sugarcane serves the traditional Caipirinha (kie-pee-REEN-yah) made with Beleza Pura, the restaurant’s house cachaça. It comes in a classy square thick-cut glass, filled to the hilt with ice, swimming wedges of lime and a short fat orange straw. Eyeballing the drink is enough to make the mouth water. And a sip of Sugarcane’s satiating mix offers simultaneous tastes of sweet and tart.

The Caipirinha at Sugarcane can be customized according to your taste by picking from any number of fruits for a great muddled sensation. Riegel says, “The Caipirinha is all about the lime. Acidity is essential with cachaça, which lends itself to tangerines, grapefruits, all citrus fruits really. It also works with strawberries because they have a lot of acid.” On that cue I request a Mixed Berry Caipirinha-a quenching cocktail with an almost purple hue.

Paul Tanguey, beverage director of Sushi Samba says. “The Caipirinha is hugely popular. It” our second best selling drink after the Mojito.” He adds, “I think the Caipirinha is a great cocktail and is set to become a classic along with the Mojito and the Cosmopolitan.”
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The Latin libation doesn’t just do the rounds at trendy boites in urban centers; the classic Thomas Henkelmann restaurant at the Homestead Inn in Greenwich, Conn. serves up the Caipirinha too. Opting for the Beleza Pura® cachaça, Thomas says, ” You can find the Caipirinha everywhere in Europe but people are still new to it here. It’s a wonderful drink for the summer.

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