HomeCocktailBrazil’s Macunaíma Is a Beloved Cachaça and Fernet Cocktail

Brazil’s Macunaíma Is a Beloved Cachaça and Fernet Cocktail


A founding character in Brazilian modernist literature, Macunaíma was painted as a hero of the individuals. Because the eponymous story goes, Macunaíma was an Indigenous man born within the Amazon who travels to São Paulo to get well an amulet. Written by Mário de Andrade, the e book turned beloved as a illustration of the nation’s range at a time when Indigenous tales have been underrepresented in broader Brazilian tradition. Now, 86 years after Macunaíma was first revealed, the character has gained renewed relevance, this time at bar counters round Brazil.

The yr was 2014, and the nation was on the verge of internet hosting the World Cup, an obsession in Brazil, whose nationwide staff held the highest place within the knockout stage. “At the moment, I used to be making an attempt exhausting to give you a brand new cocktail that represented that spirit,” recollects Arnaldo Hirai, bartender and accomplice at Boca de Ouro in São Paulo, a well-liked industry-favorite bar within the metropolis. He remembers coming throughout only a few recipes made with cachaça.

Mixing the native spirit with Fernet-Branca, lime and sugar, Hirai created a recipe that unfold quickly throughout the nation; it was an prompt traditional. How did the drink take off so shortly? “I think about it has to do with its simplicity,” he says. “Virtually each bar has cachaça, lime and a dusty bottle of Fernet on the shelf.” Hirai first named the cocktail after a Brazilian percussion instrument, the caxirola, however realized that “Macunaíma” higher represented the Brazilian tradition he was making an attempt to channel.

Even simpler than the record of elements is the preparation. As a result of Hirai believes the citrusy cocktail is gentle sufficient by itself, he doesn’t recommend serving it over ice for added dilution. As a substitute, he recommends shaking to froth up the citrus earlier than straining the drink into a relaxing lowball glass with out ice. Whereas the strategy is straightforward, Hirai does say there’s one essential ingredient to contemplate: Use a superb cachaça aged in balm, a broadly used Brazilian wooden that imparts aromas of clove and anise. “The balm-aged cachaça offers it some astringency,” says Jean Ponce, founding father of the award-winning São Paulo bar Guarita, “and mixing it with Fernet balances acidity and sweetness, contrasting with the lime and sugar. It’s a excellent mixture.”

Finally, the Macunaíma crossed past the borders of São Paulo, a metropolis with a extra established cocktail scene, to develop into successful throughout the nation. Quite a lot of bars have determined to duplicate Hirai’s recipe and make it their very own. At Lamparina, a cachaça-themed bar in Belo Horizonte, for instance, a cachaça produced in Minas Gerais varieties the bottom of the take, additional localizing the drink. 

In its native residence of São Paulo, too, the drink is featured on many menus. And, although it’s not even a decade previous, it’s already thought-about a traditional. For instance, the Macunaíma is on the record at Escarcéu, a São Paulo bar that pays tribute to botecos (no-frills bars) and Brazilian bohemian tradition. “We tried to return in time to the Nineteen Seventies, when bars hadn’t but gone by means of some gentrification, and rescue an unique Brazilian essence,” says Edu Passarelli, one of many founders of the laid-back idea. And although it’s a rather more latest a part of cocktail historical past, “Macunaíma represents that simplicity, so we couldn’t go away it out of our record.”




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