It’s been awhile, I know, but I promise dear cocktail fans I haven’t forgotten. I’ve been hard at work on a cocktail-related venture I’ll have news of later.
In the meantime, here’s a spin on a classic cocktail for you. It’s a strawberry caipirinha. I got the idea for strawberry cachaca from the PDT Cocktail Book. Meehan uses it in the delicious Morango Fizz, basically an egg-white sour with the strawchaca (see what I did there?) and a little soda floated on top. I have what I think is an even better version, but I’ll save that for a modernist post later.
The caipirinha is one of my favorite cocktails, in fact, it’s one of the few that helped launch my obsession. In the summer it’s up there with mojitos and Tom Collinses when it comes to patio drinking. This twist arguably makes it even more yummy when the berries start popping up at your local farmer’s market. I used Dave Arnold’s justino technique, from Liquid Intelligence, to make the strawberry cachaca. If you don’t have Pectinex handy, never fear. You can just do it the old-school way.
Step 1: Make strawberry cachaca.
1a: Classic technique:
Buy a quart of strawberries at your local farmer’s market. Eat some because, well, because you can. Hull and halve them until you have 400g worth and put them in a big glass jar. Cover with a 750ml bottle of cachaca. Wait until the strawberries turn almost white and the liquor turns red and has a strong strawberry taste. Strawberries infuse quickly so start checking after a few days, but plan for about a week. Strain out the strawberries, then run the liquor through a coffee filter to get out the particles.
1b: Modernist technique:
Buy a quart of strawberries at your local farmer’s market. Eat some because, well, because you can. Hull strawberries until you have about 400g worth and put in a blender along with a 750ml bottle of cachaca and 2 grams Pectinex Ultra-SPL. If you have a centrifuge you’re a lucky bastard and you probably already know what to do next. If you don’t, do what I do. Let it sit for a few days to separate, then strain through a series of strainers and finally through a chemex filter.
Step 2: Make the Strawberry Caipirinha
2 oz. strawberry cachaca
1/2 oz. simple syrup (bonus points for demerara)
1. Take a lime and cut it in half, then cut one of the halves into 4 pieces. (So you’ll have 4 eighths of a lime.) (This is the rare drink where you will find me using a unit of measure as imprecise as “half a lime” but it’s a peasant drink that I have heard translates roughly to “country bumpkin” so you’ll just have to accept some variation on this one.)
2. Place the pieces in a rocks glass with 1/2 oz. simple syrup. Muddle them well. You want to express the oils from the peels into the simple.
3. Fill the glass with ice and add the cachaca.
4. Traditionally this drink is then stirred, though in the last couple days I’ve started shaking with a Boston shaker since someone recommended it on /r/cocktails. If you do the latter, don’t strain. Just shake with the rocks glass, pull the tin off, and serve.