Is it sunset yet?

I'd take wine over liquor any day and have never been big on cocktails.  Except in Brazil where it's hard to pass up a caipirinha, the country's national cocktail, a drink that goes really well with vacation and sunny weather.  On this past trip, my father-in-law would suggest "a sundowner" around 5pm most days. He'd take orders—cachaça or vodka, lime or passion fruit or pitanga—and then head to the kitchen where he'd plop fresh fruit into tall glasses and get started. Some sugar would go in next and then he'd muddle it with the fruit using a wooden pestle. So serious about his caipirinhas, he owns a machine called The Ice Crusher which he uses to crack cubes to perfection. He'd add a handful of crushed ice to each glass and then top them off with a hearty glug of cachaça or vodka. As you can see, Nico enjoyed the whole process a lot. For our first sundowner, he and Leo both kept sticking their hands into our glasses, trying to fish out pieces of ice and fruit. Since their Vovó makes strong caipirinhas, we decided to give them their very own virgin ones the rest of the trip. By adding water instead of alcohol, they were able to really join in on the happy hour fun, too. In fact, it was Nico who got happy hour going most nights after that, always asking "is it time for sunset yet?"

Some friends are coming to stay with us this weekend and if the weather stays warm, I think we'll have to plan a Brooklyn sundowner using some summer fruits like strawberries or plums. This blackberry caipirinha recipe also sounds good. If you feel like giving caipirinhas a try, but can't find cachaça, vodka works well. It makes the drink a bit more mild and you'll be able to really taste the fruit, too.

Enjoy the long weekend!

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