Tuesday, October 16, 2012

The Origin of Caipirinha

A hot Saturday, a great table of feijoada, good music, pleasant company. Everything toast to a good caipirinha. The drink that toasts national celebrations and is appreciated by the gringos has been used as a home remedy. In the early twentieth century, precisely in 1918, the mix of cachaça, lemon, honey and garlic was consumed in Brazil to mitigate the effects of the Spanish flu. "The lemon was used in the recipe because of its Vitamin C and alcohol was applied to accelerate the therapeutic effects of the drug," says Jairo Martins, sommelier of the brazilian rum and writer of the book "Cachaça: the most Brazilian of pleasures" (2006).

Martins said that at that time, many of cachaça were produced in São Paulo, especially in the region of Piracicaba. Then, the product began to disembark at the port of Santos. It was then that the remedy received such friendly name. The "caipirinha" was used in reference to the origin of one of the most remarkable ingredients, the sugar cane.

The explanation related to the Spanish Flu is more likely, according to the sommelier of cachaça. But there are many versions to how the favorite brazilian drink has born. One theory, for example, argues that sailors from foreign ships invented the mixture. When docked in the port of Paraty, they drank rum with lime to prevent scurvy, a disease caused by lack of Vitamin C in the body.

The baptism of caipirinha was pursued for a period of consecration of national culture, marked by Sao Paulo Week of Modern Art in 1922. The event sought to align the Brazilian avant-garde European art. The drink was then embraced by modernist intellectuals as a symbol of national gastronomic culture. Finally Brazil had a drink to call their own. "The caipirinha was used as a sort of protest. Later, the painter Tarsila do Amaral and writer Oswald de Andrade, modernists, took the tradition ti Paris", says Martins.

In 2003, the drink was legally enshrined in a presidential decree in order to regulate it as typical of Brazil. It was done to prevent a possible risk of the drink being patented by foreign companies. Today, the drink appears as follows: "Drink with an alcohol content of 15 to 36% by volume, at 20 degrees Celsius, made with cachaça, lime and sugar, may be called Caipirinha (Typical Drink of Brazil) provided the addition of water to the alcoholic strength and additives."