I’ve always agreed with the philosophy, and you should, too, that you can usually trust a national dish. Yes, there is the occasional outlier, and that outlier is usually near some ice caps and involves a kind of fermented dead fish. Regardless, nine times out of 10 if it’s sold on every street corner in the country, it’s probably going to be delicious. I mean, if an entire nation of millions upon millions of people willingly eat it several times a day, how could they be wrong?
Granted, those kinds of specialties are usually street food, meaning at least half the time those lovable citizens hop on down to their local corrugated sheet metal and asbestos food cart, and they’re probably blind drunk. But I maintain my stance. If you want to eat well, eat with the locals. Bring me your tired, your hungry and your stumbling, slurring, trying to convince a taxi driver that true love is real and I won’t throw up in your refurbished Cadillac masses, and I’ll take you to a plate-full of something delicious.
Luckily, one of Brazil’s staples is decidedly not disgusting: the Caipirinha. Limes, sugar and a nearly unpronounceable white rum. It’s simple, it’s strong, and it’s completely devoid of fermented fish. I dare you to improve it.
Here’s what you need:
– 2 1/2 oz. Cachaça (See, I told you it was unpronounceable)
– 2 1/2 teaspoons of sugar
– Half a lime, cut into quarters
Here’s what you do:
First, put the limes and sugar in the bottom of a shaker, and muddle them until the sugar’s mostly dissolved. Pour in the rum, add ice, and give it a good shake. Remember, you want to make sure you don’t get a grainy drink, so really shake the hell out of it. Strain into a rocks glass, add some rocks and fish the lime pieces out of your shaker and add those, too. All that’s left is to drink it up, along with some beats from One Self. Check out “Bluebird:”
As crazy as some of those aforementioned delicacies can be, most of them are pretty much a no-brainer. If it’s food, it’s probably going to be something fried, grilled or stuffed with something fried or grilled. And if it’s a drink, you’ll probably be fine as long as it doesn’t come from a bottle with a dead cobra in it. Hell, if you come across some of the cobra stuff, give it a try anyway.