Cocktails from South of the Equator
In the spirit of South America, we are offering two traditional cocktails featuring quintessential South American liquors this month: the Pisco Sour and the Caipirinha (pronounced KI-pa-REEN-ya). Both will remind you of warmer times, thanks to the essential ingredient of lime.
Pisco is a grape brandy made in the wine-producing regions of Peru and Chile, and both countries claim the Pisco Sour as their national cocktail. Peru has even made a national holiday to celebrate the drink, a day on which some Peruvians partake in the challenge of finishing a Pisco Sour before the end of the national anthem (if you're curious, it's the first Saturday of every February). The most accepted story of the Pisco Sour's origin gives Peru credit as the birthplace of this cocktail, although ironically, this source of national pride was allegedly created by an American expatriate!
As the story goes, Victor Vaughn Morris, a Salt Lake City transplant who originally moved to Peru for the railroad industry, "invented" the Pisco Sour at his bar (aptly named the Morris Bar) in Lima in the early 1920s, where he eventually settled with this Peruvian wife and their children. Other research, however, suggests that Morris did not invent the cocktail, but merely gave it its current name. Other cocktails involving the same basic ingredients had been served elsewhere before then.
Whatever debates might arise about the origin of this drink, one this is certain: it is delicious. Light, ever-so-slightly floral, and undeniably refreshing.
Hard to pronounce. Easy to drink. The Caipirinha is Brazil's national cocktail and is similar to a daiquiri. Interestingly, the term "caipirinha" is the diminutive, feminine form of "caipira," which means "someone from the countryside" (although the less polite, but more precise translation is "a hillbilly"). So, this drink's name means little country girl.
The key ingredient in the Caipirinha is Cachaça (pronounced ka-SHAH-suh), a Brazilian liquor made from sugar cane (similar to rum). Although Cachaça had received a bad reputation in the past for being fairly unpalatable (and older versions of it probably were), far more refined versions are being distilled now. The current Cachaça is more palatable, and when combined with lime and sugar to make a Caipirinha, it is a perfect sipper. It might be worth learning how to pronounce this Brazilian spirit, since according this New York Times article, Cachaça's presence in the U.S. is on the rise!
We invite you to try one (or both) of these cocktails with our Viva South America! menu. They are a tasty and apropos way to begin your meal!