Sunday, July 29, 2007

caipirinhas, grand cru

Uh oh, I took one sip of my caipirinha, and I knew I was in trouble.


But then again, I have never had one of these without getting into some kind of mischief.

I was first introduced to this Brazilian cocktail when Mr.S took me to Cafe Atlantico in DC for my birthday. Wow, and what a happy birthday it was (as far as I can remember). Made with cachaça, a distilled liquor made from sugarcane juice, caipirinhas are also flavored with muddled limes and sugar. There are over4000 brands of cachaça available in Brazil, yet only a handful of these are exported to the U.S. One of the most popular ones is Pitú. You'll recognize it by its distinctive large red crawfish on the label. Cachaça may be hard to find here in Baltimore, but I have seen it at Wells Liquors on York Road, as well as the Wine Source in Hamden.

Some friends and I met up after work at Grand Cru, a wine bar in Belvedere Square, over the weekend. Its a favorite spot of mine for sampling from an ever-eclectic selection of wine, many of which are from local vineyards, people watching, and sharing a fresh baguette and cheese plate with good friends. The staff is knowledgeable, generous with their pours, and best of all, unpretentious. On this particular night, we started off with mojitos and caipirinhas, and some bread and cheeses from nearby Atwater's. The mojitos tend to be hit-or-miss, as they are either pretty good or not sweet enough. These were the latter. My caipirinha was well, capable of bringing a grown man to the floor. It was served in a pretty collins glass, but aesthetics aside, should have been in a short tumbler glass, so that the limes can be muddled properly. We moved on to share 2 bottles of white, of which I'm sorry to say I can't remember the names. Four and a half hours into the evening, and we were happily light-years away from our busy days at work.

Few bars in Baltimore carry cachaça and so caipirinhas are a rarity on drink menus. Grand Cru is the only venue which I have found them. If anyone knows of anywhere else, drop me a line!

Grand Cru
527 E. Belvedere Ave.
Baltimore, MD 21212