World Cup Sipping: Quick and Tasty Cocktails!

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WorldCupHeader

With the World Cup in full swing, it seems that every bar and restaurant in my neighborhood is decked out in international apparel, flying flags and waving banners supporting their team (or teams) of choice, displaying their football pride for all the world to see and share in.  Many have created special FIFA-themed menus, offering special game-time happy hours and customized cocktails.

And while that's all well and wonderful – it's certainly nice to know you'll be able to see a match wherever you go – there are times that I personally feel less socially soccerful, and simply wish to sit and enjoy the World Cup with a couple friends in the comfort of my own living room: air conditioning set to a comfortable level, widescreen TV at the ready, drinks in hand.

Yet the special nature of the event still demands some ceremony, some special effort.  It only rolls around every four years, after all, we might as well make the most of it!

So to that end, my guests and I have been toying with some world-spanning cocktails while we tune in to the excitement in Brazil.  And to reflect and  unique nature of this tournament, I've given myself a few basic ground rules: each drink needs a light Latin-American flair, each should be based around a few key (easily obtainable) ingredients, and each should be able to be mixed quickly, in the space of a single spectacular attempt to draw a yellow card.

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100_1860

The FIFArinha

This twist on the classic Brazilian Caipirinha recipe adds a gentle herbal undercurrent of mint and a refreshing dash of cucumber to cut straight through the summertime heat.

  • (75 ml) 2.5 oz Cachaça, such as Novo Fogo,  (though one can substitute a high-quality white Rum: Hampden Estate's Rum Fire, gold medalist in the 2013 NY International Spirits Competition gives the drink an interesting twist)
  • (15 ml) 1/2 oz Orange Liqueur (I suggest Pierre Ferrand Dry Curaçao, but Triple Sec is acceptable)
  • one Sprig Fresh mint
  • 1/2 Lime, quartered
  • 3 thick slices, Cucumber
  • 1/2 tsp. Simple Syrup
  • splash of Club Soda (optional)

In a large rocks glass, combine mint, cucumber, Orange Liqueur, simple syrup, and lime.  Muddle well.  Add Cachaca, then fill glass with ice (topping with club soda if so desired).

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100_1872

Gulf Coast Caravan 

I've long been fascinated by the combination of Tequila and cranberry, how those contrasting ingredients from Mexico and The US compliment one another – I think of this recipe as Group A and Group G neighbors, united for a common goal.

  • (75 ml) 2.5 oz Milagro Silver Tequila
  • (30 ml) 1 oz Cranberry Juice
  • squeeze of lemon
  • 2 dashes Regan's Orange Bitters

Combine all ingredients in a mixing cup with ice, shake well, strain into a chilled cocktail glass.  Garnish with a sprig of mint and a lemon twist.

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100_1844

Buena Vista Samba 

Music, culture, and flavors have long passed back and forth across the Caribbean – this drink serves as a humble tribute to that continuing cross-pollination.

Combine all ingredients in a mixing cup with ice, shake until cup frosts over, strain into a chilled cocktail glass.  Garnish with a slice of lime.