This weekend the winos gathered prepared with everything we had read and experienced about Carnival and Brazil. One couple had actually been to the Samba Parade in Rio and brought video from the event. What a treat!
We did find the traditional natural cane Cachaca (it comes only from Brazil and is made form 100% fresh cane juice) at the local BevMo. The alternative would have been rum or vodka, but we wanted to be as authentic as possible. Cachaca, limes, sugar or simple syrup, and ice was all we needed. Everyone set out to make their own and then we selected a winner to make the next pitcher.
In a rocks glass, we placed 4 lime wedges with 2 tablespoons of superfine sugar (some used simple syrup) and with a muddler we mashed the lime and sugar together. Next the crushed ice (in a clean dish towel take ice and crush it) and 2 ounces of Leblon Cachaca. Shake or stir and garnish with a fresh lime.
The group preferred the stirred version and some who felt is was too sweet, topped off their glass with club soda. We set off to make a pitcher for those who wanted a second glass and took the short cut of 2 parts Cachaca to 1 part fresh lime juice and 1 part simple syrup. I liked my individual glass better, but the pitcher was more efficient for a large group.
Our hosts took the time to research and make feijoada, many in the group had not tasted this traditional Brazilian stew of black beans with beef and pork. The vegetarians in the group had been warned, and a beautiful salad was prepared for them. Using Tyler Florence’s recipe from the food network the result was DELICIOUS. I looked up the recipe when I got home and truly appreciated all the effort that went into this feast.
With a cup of coffee in hand we sat around the TV and watched the videos from the Rio Samba Parade that our friends had attended a few years ago in Rio’s Sambodromo. We learned that while it looks lavish and a lot of fun, it is a serious competition with more than 70 samba schools participating. We all agreed that a group trip to Rio for Carnival should be on our list!