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How to Make a Cascadian Caipbeerinha
Made from freshly-pressed sugarcane juice, cachaça is often considered Brazil’s national distilled spirit. In the US, it’s most commonly encountered in a cocktail called a caipirinha. When Dragos Axinte launched Novo Fogo organic cachaça in 2011, the founder says he “wanted to make the caipirinha more approachable,” and to accomplish that tweaked its formula. Instead of simply mixing the Brazilian spirit with sugar, lime juice, and ice, he got creative with the building blocks using cachaça (any color), plus any citrus and not necessarily muddled, a flavored sweetener like syrup, liqueur, or fresh fruit, and beer. Then, while marketing Novo Fogo and encouraging bartenders to try their own cachaça concoctions, Axinte met Jacob Grier, a mixologist who shared his passion for beer cocktails.
At the time, Grier was already exploring the possibilities of combining beer and spirits. Working with Yetta Vorobik and Ezra Johnson-Greenough, Grier hosted nearly a dozen events in 2010 and 2011 called Brewing Up Cocktails. One of the most popular recipes that came out of the series was a “Caipbeerinha,” which Johnson-Greenough made by adding a generous splash of Ninkasi Brewing Company’s flagship IPA to a caipirinha to lend complexity in the form of bitter, floral, and piney flavors. “It was a very smart drink that made IPA-haters like me find a delightful way to drink an unnaturally-bitter liquid, while giving the many IPA lovers in the Pacific Northwest something new to try,” says Axinte.
Remove white pith from the lime and lemon and discard it. Cut the remaining lime and lemon halves into slices; toss them into a lowball glass. Muddle the fruits to extract their juice. Add the agave nectar, then fill the glass with ice. Add the cachaça and pour everything into a shaker. Shake it hard; pour everything (including ice) back into the same glass and top with IPA. ■