I had just finished up a late Saturday breakfast when my friend Keila Szpaller, author of the phenomenal city/gov/what-you-need-to-know blog MissoulaRedTape.com, called to see what our plans were for the day. When I told her I intended to chill out and relax after a busy workweek, she invited us over to relax on the front porch with her husband Brock and their delightfully quirky pooch Alan and some Caipirinhas of course.
Caipirinhas are the national drink of Brazil, and the easiest way to describe them would be like Cuba’s mojitos without the mint. But that would be a bit unfair to the cachaça, the liquor that makes a Caipirinha what it is.
Like rum, cachaça is distilled from sugar cane, but unlike rum, it’s not made from molasses, but rather from the pure cane juice, to which fresh-squeezed lime and sugar are added to make a deliciously summertime drink that goes perfectly well with a warm spring day in Missoula, Montana.
Keila’s family hales from Brazil, where her Ukrainian relatives settled after leaving the old country in much the same way my family left Ukraine and settled in China, the Philippines and eventually San Francisco. With both of us being world wanderers, there’s nothing as enjoyable as getting together to talk about all the amazing foods and drinks that define one region or another, so it was so great to be able to sip the light and tart Caipirinhas and talk about her life in Brazil.
We eventually made our way off of their front porch and onto ours, where we continued the festivities with some surf & turf in the form of grilled salmon and steak and more talk about places we’ve been and places we want to go. We call it porch surfing, and it’s going to become a regular part of our summer plans.
Two versions of cachaça, the liquor required to make Caipirinhas are available at Grizzly Liquor. Then find yourself some lime and sugar and make it summer in Missoula.