No doubt due to an insufferable hangover, most folks already know that Brazil’s national cocktail is the caipirinha, made from the national spirit, cachaça, along with sugar and fresh limes, but what else is there to drink?
When you are ready to shake things up a bit, branch out and ask the bartender for Brazil’s next best cocktail, the Caju Amigo (Cashew Fruit Friend) – every bit as Brazilian as the caipirinha but not nearly as famous.
It’s certainly not going to get you any less inebriated, but the Caju Amigo is made with cashew fruit (most folks don’t even know cashews are attached to a fruit, but there you go, they are, and it’s quite tasty!) along with vodka, cachaça or rum, ice, sugar and lime. Although the recipe is quite similar to a caipirinha, it’s usually less sweet (usually being the key word here – and only just!). If anything, it’s a great way to taste cashew fruit, which comes in the cocktail in large chunks and is a real treat at the end after you sucked down all the alcohol.
Cashew fruit – photo courtesy of Joao Vicente
The cocktail was invented in 1974 by a bartender named Guilhermino Ribeiro dos Santos at Pandoro Bar, a traditional bar and restaurant in São Paulo that had an amazing run from the 1950s all the way to 2006 (it re-opened in 2008 but some say its lost its’ soul).
“It’s an easy drink for any time of the day,” says Fabio La Pietra, the award-winning head bartender at SubAstor, one of São Paulo’s best cocktail bars. “The cashew brings a unique sweet and sour taste with a long lasting aroma.”
Today, among Brazilians, it’s held in high esteem as a piece of Paulistano history, protected and revered like a liquid UNESCO World Heritage site. But that doesn’t stop the new guard from updating it for the newfangled world of mixology we all know and love today.
Caju Amigo – photo courtesy of SubAstor2
“In SubAstor, Rogerio [Sousa “Frajola”] and I twisted the Bijoux Cocktail, a forgotten classic made with gin, sweet vermouth and Chartreuse, and turned it into the Bijoux Caju,” explains La Pietra, who is one of Brazil’s most creative mixologists. “We took 40ml of London dry gin, 1/3 of fresh cashew fruit, a dash of pineapple syrup and 20ml of Yellow Chartreuse served up in a cocktail glass and garnished with fresh mint leaves.”
Now you know where to go if you just can’t stomach any more caipirinhas! Cheers!