Chow Town

Cheers to caipirinha, the 'beautiful cocktail'

Stop the world: Brazil is about to play!

That is the rallying cry at my house as the 2014 World Cup kicks off today (actually at this moment) — and runs through July 13.

Last Cup (yes, we capitalize out of reverence), my Brazilian-born husband bought a big screen TV that makes our house ground zero for family, friends and our son’s Brazilian roommates from Lawrence. To make sure everyone gets in the proper celebratory spirit, Otavio stayed up past midnight decorating the house with flags and banners. He’s gathering up a random bunch of noise-making instruments and taking them to a hallowed corner in the basement where they will be at the ready for spontaneous percussion outbursts. (Better than denting my pots and pans, I guess!)

I, too, like a good game of soccer (sorry all you brasileiros out there who call it futbol!), but it’s really the food and drink that makes this ritual worth scheduling my life around. As we speak, the smell of cheesebread or pao de queijo is wafting through the house and the lime-muddled caipirinhas can not be far behind.

The Brazilians call their brand of football “jogo bonito,” which translates to “beautiful game.” But I am celebrating with what I like to call “the beautiful cocktail,” a libation that should launch the country’s star cocktail from the bench warmer to a starting position.

Afraid to drink a cocktail you can’t pronounce?

Say it with me: caipirinha (ky-pee-REEN-yah), a truly beautiful cocktail made with muddled limes, sugar and cachaca, a Brazilian-style rum.

They make authentic versions at Brazilian restaurants such as Fogo de Chao on the Country Club Plaza and Em Chamas at 6101 NW. 63rd Terrace. But there’s no reason you can’t make your own. One popular premium brand of cachaca (kah-SHAH-sah) is LeBlon, although less-expensive Pitu will do. If you need a muddler, check out my favorite: Rosle’s special caipirinha version, sold at Williams-Sonoma.

Otavio’s Classic Caipirinha

Makes 1 serving

1 lime, cut in quarters

4 teaspoons granulated sugar, or to taste

2 ounces Pitú cachaça

Ice to fill the glass

Using a muddler (similar to a pestle), press and twist the lime in an old-fashioned glass; be careful not to break the glass. Add the sugar and continue muddling until sugar dissolves completely into the lime juice. Add ice to fill the glass. Top with cachaça. Place a cocktail shaker over the glass and shake to blend. Pour drink back into glass. Garnish with a wheel of lime and serve.