Monday, June 04, 2007

Holy Caipirinhas, Batman!


If I've noticed anything about the Indy epicurean scene lately, it's that we've finally become a cocktail city. Cheers to that! No longer are we subject merely to martinis, fruity daiquiris, and margaritas (or Sex on the Beaches--maybe Sexes on the Beach?--which I'm glad to say goodbye to after I bid adieu to a recent paramour who adored them--ugh!). Now we've got mojitos, Moscow mules, and caipirinhas! In fact, I had two of those Brazilian classics just this past week, and both of them were excellent. The first caipirinha was at BARcelona tapas; the second I had at the new steakhouse Brazilian Grill (on Lake Cirle Drive on the Northwest side). What is a caipirinha, you ask? Well, it's a concoction of lime juice, sugar, and cacha├ža, a smooth, rum-like alcohol distilled from sugar cane juice that is actually the fouth most consumed alcohol on the planet. The last time I bought some, I got it at John's downtown. A friend said he tried to get it at the new Kahn's on Keystone, but they were out of it (though they usually have it, the clerk said). A caipirinha is the perfect drink of summer, exactly what you imagine sipping on a sultry beach in Rio while the girl (or boy) of Ipanema strolls by (and it's potent enough to help you through not being noticed by said boy or girl). The best are a smooth balance of citrus and sugar, and both of the versions I had were good. The former was a bit more effervescent, perhaps with a hit of soda water. But it was fairly dear (and a tad small) at $7.50. The second was stronger on the lime and just a bit more potent all around. But both did the trick. At Brazilian Grill, a carnivore's paradise where you use a card with a green side and a red side to indicate whether you want more beef, pork, or chicken carved off a giant rod), the bartender made us a version using lemons, a ginger syrup, and basil leaves. The basil didn't come through very strongly, but there was a definite spicy hit of ginger in the back of the throat that made you sit up and take notice. So, if you're in a cocktail rut, try something from South America for a change at one of Indy's sexy new eateries. Saude!

10 comments:

Kenney said...

The bar at the Palomino has been serving caipirinhas for a couple years as well. Not sure if they are on the official cocktail menu, but if you order one, you will not get a funny look ...

But here's my question: Where in town can one get a good mojito? Note I said "good."

terrykirts said...

Though it's not traditional, the tequila mojito at Adobo is pretty darned good, especially since it's got a big stick of sugar cane in it to chew on. They were good for about a week at Vitesse last year--and they had 10 Cane rum to use in them. Later they were awful. Now? Pfft. I hear that they make decent ones at Harry & Izzy's, but others can comments more on those (and the upcharges!).

Cathleen said...

Thank you for this post! Ever since traveling to Brazil a few years ago, I am a huge fan of Caipirinhas. Can't wait to try out BARcelona Tapas.

braingirl said...

Now, the question is: how do you qualify a "good" mojito? For me, the bartender *has* to muddle the mint and sugar instead of a cheesy simple syrup. Also, what's with this little shot of soda they put in at some places?

Honestly, this will sound weird, but there's one bartender at the Red Room who makes a killer mojito. But he won't do it while they're really busy.

almostAchef said...

Is a mojito not supposed to have club soda? I thought that was part of it. I remember really liking the mojito at PF Chang's, but I think it may have had some twist on the traditional recipe-a bargain as it was nearly the size of a pint glass! I will definitely be trying the caipirinhas soon, probably at Barcelona, and by the way, I thought their mojito was pretty good too.

braingirl said...

A bit of reserach reveals that soda water or seltzer is apparently part of the traditional recipe. Looks like my first mojito love (at a popular Berkeley restaurant near my office when I worked there) was the non-traditional kind. (Not surprising for Berkeley when you think about it.)

almostAchef said...

Yeah, but it was probably a lot stronger and more fun that way!

DMC said...

Well, I just did my own Mojito taste test and I have to vote for simple syrup over the sugar-mint muddling. There is a more even distribution of flavor with the syrup than can be achieved with the sugar-mint combination.

But I prefer a bit more syrup than the "traditional" recipe calls for, so you may be different.

Anyway, love your blog and can't wait to try the Brazilian joint. What is the price range?

SCUBAchef said...

While walking down Washington St. yesterday, I saw a work permit in the window of 36E.(or 38?), about across the street from Morton's, for a new restaurant/bar called "Taste of Tango". Sounds like a promising bet for mojitos and caipirinhas.

Kenney said...

How do I qualify a "good" mojito? Anybody that makes them like they do at Hobson's Choice in S.F. :) I've had good ones in Miami too. In between? Not so much. Me? I like a mojito with a fist full of mint and plenty of lime. I'll have to try the one at Adobo ... if I can tear myself away from their margaritas.