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Caipiroska Preto

I wanted a Caipirinha but I didn't have any cachaça so I made this instead. It's all about the sugars.

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I know, it’s almost New Year’s, and everyone will be making eggnog and champagne-type cocktails. I’m not much of a fan of dairy-based cocktails except for White Russians, and I prefer my champagne all by itself or as a mimosa the next morning, and you don’t need a recipe for that. Why not try something new and interesting instead? This concoction is another original version of a classic that I created while experimenting and reminiscing about cocktails from summers past…  “Preto” is “black” in Portuguese which reflects the use of blackstrap molasses in my version, but there’s more to the story…

It all started a few years ago when I went to buy my favorite 10 cane rum and the liquor store was out of it so I bought some cachaça (kah-shah-suh) instead, which is a unique sugar-based booze from Brazil similar to rum. I later learned that they actually stopped making 10 cane rum in 2015, and I’m still pissed about it. And although cachaça is similar in many ways to 10 Cane in terms of flavor and process, it’s not rum and is a bit more sweet. Nonetheless, I bought some, tried drinking it straight as I used to with 10 Cane and was simply horrified! So, naturally I went to the internet to find out what the fuck I was supposed to do with this Brazilian impostor, and of course I discovered the infamous Caipirinha (kai-pee-reen-yah) which is kind of like the national drink of Brazil. It was so close to another one of my earliest cocktail favorites The Mojito that I figured it would be pretty good. Indeed it was, and I found a way to quickly polish of the bottle without feeling cheated. In fact, I had discovered a new drink that I would revisit during prime mojito season.

But it’s winter now, and while I was searching for new ways to enjoy my current bounty of flavored vodkas, I ran across the Caipiroska (kai-pir-ohs-kah), which is a variation of the Caipirinha made with vodka instead of the usual cachaça. The recipe I started with called for pear vodka, which makes sense, as my beloved 10 cane had “pear and vanilla notes”. And like cachaça, 10 cane rum was made with pure sugar cane, but also blended with molasses aged rum, so I decided to push it further and added pure blackstrap molasses to my recipe to take it over the top. I also couldn’t resist adding maple syrup to bring back a little sweetness. You may want to try the original simple Caipirinha made with cachaça and compare that to the basic Caipiroska recipe before you try my “black” Caipiroska, just so you get a feeling for where I came from. My crazy version is unnecessarily complex in flavor, but I like it. I hope you will too! You may want to ease up on the molasses unless like you like that black tarry sugar flavor.

  • 2 oz. pear vodka (Grey Goose La Poire is preferred if you’re too lazy to make your own)

  • ½ lime, cut into wedges

  • 1 teaspoon blackstrap molasses (optional, and less if you like it sweet)

  • 1 teaspoon brown sugar

  • 1 teaspoon maple syrup

  • dash vanilla extract (optional)

  • cracked ice

  • Squeeze lime with syrup and sugar and muddle with lime peels to release oils until all is dissolved. Add vodka with ice, shake and pour into old-fashioned glass or mason jar with more cracked ice.

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