Blame It On The Bossa Nova!


Glose your eyes and think Rio de Janeiro.

Imagine throngs of thong-clad hedonists parading wildly through the streets.

Imagine a smiling, supple-hipped woman with a pile of fruit on her head. From Camavale, the madre of all parties, to Carmen Miranda, the South American madam of the movies, Brazil has always been the definition of good times. Brazil brings to mind elaborate floats filled with exotically costumed dancers winding through thousands of hi)U’-naked (and naked) glitter-painted dancers. And miles of samba dancers samba-ing their way to the Sambadrome for the Super Bowl of Samba.

This culture knows how to celebrate.

What do all these people have in common? Ever wonder why they’re so happy? Look closely at what is in their hands-more often than not it’s the unofficial official drink of Brazil-the caipirinha.

It’s Carnavale in a glass.

The caipirinha’s main ingredient, cachaca, is distilled from fermented sugar cane, more potent than rum, smoother and a bit sweeter. Cachaca is to Brazil what tequila is to Mexico. Like tequila, cachaca takes part in plenty of fancy tropical concoctions, and it’s also thrown back in shots (pingas). Cachaca is the soul of the caipirinha.

The cuipirinha is a simple drink, although most Dallas bartenders find it unappealingly labor-intensive-bartenders these days prefer pouring $8 varietals to hand-mixing exotic cocktails. The caipirinha originated in the farm country when farm workers grabbed a lime from a nearby tree, tore off some sugar cane, opened a bottle to beat the heat, and bingo-la caipirinha (which roughly translates into “little red neck”).

The love affair with all things Latin landed in Miami’s South Beach years ago. Now everything from peasant Cuban sandwiches to the churrascaria continuous-service steakhouses of Sao Paulo have spread across the U.S. (New-Yorkers have been spotted dancing on the tables at Barramundj in the Last Village.) Dallas is right in steps- caipirinhas are now served al Rodizio’s in Arlington, Fogo de Chao and Texas de Brazil in Addison, Obzeet in North Dal las, and the Samba Room in Dallas. But you might prefer to make it yourself.

Do try this at home:

For two drinks:

1.Take one whole lime (key limes if you can find them) and roll the lime under the heel of your hand to soften and release the juices.

2. Using a double old-fashioned glass, dip the glass edge in lime juice and rim with brown sugar.

3. Quarter the lime and put 2 quarters in each glass.

4. Use a pestle to grind 2 teaspoons of sugar into the lime wedges (crush pulp side-up).

Fill glass over the top with crushed ice.

Add 2 to 3 ounces of cachaca.

Stir with a sugarcane stick and put on your dancing shoes.

Put some fruit on your head.

Cachaca is available at most Sigel’s, Centennials, Pogo’s, and Red Coleman’s, or from the bar at:

Fogo de Chao-4300 Belt Line Rd., Addison, 972-503-7300

Obzeet-19020 Preston Rd., 972-867-6126

flodizio-4040 S. Cooper, Arlington. 817-417-7600

Samba Room-4514 Travis St., 214-522-4137

Texas De Brazil-15101 Addison Rd., Addison, 972-385-1000


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