Introduction: Pepper Basil Caipirinha
The Pepper Basil Caipirinha is a very light refreshing drink from Devin Tavern in NYC.
Like all good cocktails, freshness is just as important as using a great spirit. In this case, they use Beleza Pura Cachaca, which is much smoother than most, as well as fresh lime and basil
1 barspoon White Peppercorns
6 Basil leaves (fresh)
1/2 Lime cut into wedges
2 barspoons Sugar
3 oz Beleza Pura Cachaca
buy it here
Cachaca is a clear spirit made from pure sugarcane. Its origins are Brazilian. Many people call it a rum and that's because rum is the closest spirit to it, seeing as rum is made from molasses. I've heard that when it was first imported they need to classify it as a rum for legal import reasons, hence it's often referred to as Brazilian Rum.
Step 1: Muddlin' Pepper
Place a layer of pepper corns in the bottom of a pint glass. Using a sturdy muddler, crush them well, releasing their essence.
Step 2: The Lime and the Basil
Next, place half a lime in the glass. You'll want the lime in wedges to make them easier to work with. You only need to get the juices out. If you muddle too hard or long you may muddle the bitterness of the rind into your cocktail.
Once you have a good juicy mix, add your basil and muddler with a good twisting motion to release the herb's flavor.
Step 3: A Spoonful of Sugar Helps the Cocktail Go Down
...or in this case two barspoons of sugar are added. Could you use simple syrup? I guess, but there's something about plain sugar that works better.
Step 4: Adding the Cachaca!
There are many cachacas on the market and if you've tried it and don't like that spirit, it very well may be you didn't get a good one. Some of the cheaper older ones have a very harsh taste. Beleza Pura is very smooth, even a little oaky. Some of the higher end, darker ones are very sipable like a good tequila or scotch. But beleza is my choice here. Add 3 oz.
Next, an ingredient that's often not taken seriously but should be... fill with lots of ice. Legendary bartender Dale DeGroff says the colder and harder the ice, the better.
Think about it: as the ice is shaken, it melts and becomes an intricate part of your drink. You don't want to add the flavor of your freezer... yummm freezer burn.
Step 5: Shake & Strain
Shake well. Strain into a rocks glass over fresh, clean, new ice. You could drink it from what's made already, but do you want a piece of basil stuck on your teeth?
Step 6: The Garnish
The final step is the garnish. For a lot of cocktails, the garnish is just to make it look pretty, but at Dylan Prime and Devin Tavern they try to make the garnish an ingredient in the drink. Taking one basil leaf (make sure it's a good one 'cause pretty is important too), place it in the palm of your hand and give it a good SLAP! This will release some of the oils and aromatics so that you're tasting the cocktail not only with your tongue but with your nose as well. Lay on top of the drink and enjoy!