Last week I had the great pleasure of seeing my dear friend Julia twice, which was basically a miracle. Almost a decade after we left high school we’ve been separated by states or continents or oceans, so being close enough to have her down for a weekend or pop up for her birthday party has been an amazing change of pace.
Julia came down to visit for Memorial Day weekend with a friend that she met studying abroad in Brazil so naturally they also came down with a bottle of cachaça, a sugar cane rum that is vital in making the country’s national drink, the Caipirinha. Caipirinhas are made with cachaça, lime, and sugar, and have been one of our favorite cocktails to enjoy since a neighbor introduced us to them last year. Julia and Caroline wanted to try a strawberry twist and since I’d just made rhubarb syrup we threw together a version that was sweet, tart and very photogenic.
We spent most of the day Sunday at the beach, soaking up the sun and the warm weather and the ocean that was almost too cold to get in but just warm enough because we really wanted it. For dinner we made more Caipirinhas, steamed crabs, braised greens, and salt packed a fish, enjoying what I hope will be one of many long summer nights spent with friends in our backyard.
I clearly can’t get enough strawberries lately, and when we had some friends over later in the week (and still had rhubarb syrup chilling in the fridge), I decided to pick up another bottle of cachaça and try our hand at making Caipirinhas without the supervision of people who speak Portuguese. It ended up being a very successful experiment (though got a little rocky when I forgot to add the lime juice) which means I have a new favorite cocktail until the strawberries (and cachaça) run out.
Strawberry Rhubarb Caipirinhas
3 stalks fresh rhubarb
1 cup sugar
1 cup water
3 strawberries, hulled and diced
1/2 oz rhubarb syrup
1 oz cachaça
Juice of 1/2 lime
1 tsp cane sugar
To make your syrup clean and thickly slice your rhubarb. Combine rhubarb, sugar, and water in a sauce pan. Simmer for 20 minutes or until the rhubarb has almost disintegrated. Strain out the rhubarb and chill the syrup.
To make your cocktails, muddle strawberries in the bottom of a glass with the sugar. Add in syrup, lime juice, and cachaça. Stir in a few ice cubes and serve.