Sunday, June 07, 2015

Tropical Temperatures Call for Tropical Cocktails

If you're a newcomer to our fair city, you may not even have been aware that it was happening, but if you needed any more proof that climate change is real, you had only to look up at the sky during Portland's annual paen to the be-thorned flower that gives this place its nickname, The City of Roses. You could look up because there wasn't anything falling out of the sky that would cause your eyes to blink and your head to get soaked.

Remove pith from lime, then slash.

There wasn't even a reason to wear a coat because the temperature was hovering in the 80s and the sky was the crystalline blue of some tropical lagoon. The roses themselves, which started blooming almost a month ago and which normally would be sodden masses from the drenching rain that falls from the sky in torrential sheets during the Rose Festival, were blooming in profusion on even the most hellish of hell strips.

That and the lack of snow pack in the mountains is enough to make native Oregonians more than a little nervous.

Put lime in glass and add superfine sugar.

But we're a plucky lot here, so when the sun shines and the mercury creeps up into the high double digits, we take a cue from the parts of the world where this kind of weather is de rigeur. And since this week is looking to be quite tropical, we'll be mixing up just the right blend of ice and lime and a splash of alcohol.


No, in this instance I'm not talking about a margarita or a gin and tonic or even a mojito—not, as Mr. Seinfeld would say, that there's anything wrong with those. We're currently enamored of the national beverage of Brazil, the caipirinha (pron. kye-peer-EEN-yah). Made with cachaça (pron. kuh-CHAH-suh), the slightly sweet, sprightly liquor made from the fermented sugar cane juice that is then distilled, it is a drink at once light and refreshing.

This is especially called for on hot days when you don't want a cocktail hammer upside your head, but instead something that is cold and sippable and makes you feel like you're sitting under an umbrella on the beach. If anything can make hot temperatures, or climate change, more bearable, it's this.


1 heaping Tbsp. superfine (baker's) sugar
1/2 lime
2 oz. cachaca

Trim ends off lime so white rind is gone. Cut lengthwise and remove pith from center. Slice almost all the way through perpendicular to axis of lime, leaving rind side intact. Slice diagonally a couple of times, again, not slicing through. Cut in half, perpendicular to axis and put in glass flesh side up.

Put sugar over lime. Muddle gently, squeezing out all the juice you can. Put into shaker. Fill with ice. Add the cachaca. Shake. Pour with ice into tumbler.

Check out another perfect spritzy cocktail, ideal for summer, the Americano.

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