Saturday, September 20, 2008

Cocktails Part Deux: the Platinum Caipirito

When my job was developing breakfast cereals for everywhere outside the USA I had the opportunity to travel to many exotic destinations . . . six months into the job I had Platinum Elite status on my first airline, several months later I had it on a second. When not tied to the production line in the factory I tried to soak up the food and culture of wherever I happened to be. This cocktail is an homage to the time I spent in South America, I'm calling it the Platinum Caipirito.

This recipe draws on inspiration from Brazil's caipirinha and Cuba's mojito while using Mexican agave nectar, American oranges (Trader Joe's), and fresh basil from our farmshare (Riverdog Farms).

Recipe for One Platinum Caipirito
Juice from 1 1/2 fresh squeezed oranges (4 oz)
Five basil leaves
1.5 oz agave nectar
1.5 oz cachaça
Ice cubes

Muddle basil leaves and agave nectar in high ball glass. Add cachaça and orange juice and stir until nectar and basil are well distributed. Add enough ice to fill the glass.

Brazil's national drink is the caipirinha (roughly translated "little peasant girl"). It's active ingredients are a lime muddled with copious amounts of sugar and a spirit from fermented sugar cane called cachaça--similar to rum--over ice. Near the end of every trip to Brazil my hosts would take me to the grocery store where I'd pick up a couple of bottles . . . the price couldn't be beat at $2 USD each vs. the airport price an order of magnitude higher. While the caipirinha is much too sweet for me, it is one of Lauren's favorites and is a house specialty. Today's cocktail gets its kick from cachaça, but substitutes oranges in place of the limes.

While a traditional mojito uses mint muddled in a sugar syrup with rum, today's cocktail substituted the mint with basil and sugar syrup with agave nectar from Mexico.

The resulting cocktail is a fresh, yet subtle herbal cocktail perfect for the end of summer refreshment!