The Strawberry Caipirinha

Rio de Janeiro

When you think of English strawberries, what recipes spring to mind? Pimms? Strawberries and cream? Strawberry jam?

We’re currently in the throes of strawberry season in England, which I celebrated on Sunday by stocking up at my local PYO in Horsforth. And whilst all the above are strawberry-classics for a very good reason, my punnet of beautifully fresh strawberries was crying out for something different. Well, that and the fact that it was the day of the Wimbledon Men’s final, which was enough to shred the nerves of even the most fair-weather of tennis fans. Something a little stronger than strawberry jam was called for…

After three nail-biting sets were rewarded in the sweetest of ways, a strong, strawberry-based toast to Murray’s success was a must. But what?

A quick scan of my drinks cabinet led me to spy a forgotten bottle at the back. Cachaça. A souvenir from our travels in Rio de Janeiro, it conjures bittersweet memories of sipping ice-cold caipirinhas at the beach-huts that line Ipanema beach. Sigh.

Sipping a caipirinha on Ipanema Beach... take me back!

Sipping a caipirinha on Ipanema Beach… take me back!

Rio de Janeiro it is not, but a sunny Rodley afternoon celebrating our Wimbledon Champion deserved a special beverage. Taking inspiration from the caipirinha, I substituted limes for strawberries to create a moreish, fruity cocktail. The sweetness of the strawberries took the edge off the harshness of the cachaça, but the finished result was subtly sweet rather than overpoweringly saccharine. Highly recommended.

strawberry caipirinha recipe

West Yorkshire meets Brazil – the strawberry caipirinha!

RECIPE: Strawberry caipirinha

Per person, you’ll need:
A handful of strawberries
50ml cachaça
1 ½ tsp caster sugar
LOTS of ice
A muddle and lowball glass

To make:

1. Roughly chop a handful of strawberries and fill a lowball glass
2. Add a teaspoon and a half of caster sugar and muddle until the strawberries release their juices. You want the strawberries to be predominantly liquid, with a few odd chunks.
3. Add 50ml of Cachaça (equivalent to two 25ml measures if you have them) and stir
4. Fill glass with ice, then muddle thoroughly
5. Garnish with a whole strawberry and serve.

The transportative power of a caipirinha cannot be underestimated. Although the lime was substituted with fresh English strawberries, just one sip transported me straight back to that beach hut, cooling off from the hot Brazilian heat whilst admiring the formidable sight of Sugarloaf Mountain in the distance. If only…

What are your favourite recipes for English strawberries?

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