One of the curiosities about Brazil is that every region seems to have its own unique fruit that’s hard to find in other regions. São Paulo and the rest of southeast Brazil has jabuticaba. These black-purplish balls grow on trees — literally.
I enjoy them although they’re not always an easy fruit to like raw. They can be sour or sweet, depending on your luck. Fortunately they’re also commonly used in jams and drinks with enough sugar to eliminate any unpleasant sourness.
To use up the last bit of jabuticaba I got at the feira, I decided to make a caipirinha. The recipe at the famed Bar Veloso in Vila Mariana calls for fifteen jabuticaba. Frankly I’m too lazy to count them out so I filled up about two thirds of my glass. Other recipes I’ve seen call for a respectable half a cup, but I like an intense fruity flavor. I put in about two tablespoons of turbinado sugar so as to draw out the jabuticaba flavor and make up for the sour ones. Then with my muddler (an essential here) I started mashing the fruit.
Most recipes for this cocktail are pretty simple — fruit, sugar, ice, liquor — but I like my drinks a little more complex. I took about an inch long piece of ginger and cut thin slices. I added to the mix, muddled, muddled, muddled, and then added about six large ice cubes. I had no cachaça at hand, but I did have rum so I mixed it in to make what’s called a a caipiríssima, caipirinha’s rum cousin.
And it turned out well! Delicious and pretty. And you have boozy, spiced fruit to eat afterwards.