Last week, I got to have lunch at the new Richard Sandoval restaurant in Santa Monica, Zengo. While the food menu was lookin' good, the cocktail menu was outstanding!Zengo thankfully had some delish vegetarian options, like crispy fried tofu and vegetable sushi rolls. Sandoval also had the brilliant idea to deep fry green onions as a side dish.
That was life-changing.
Afterward, we headed to his restaurant next door, La Sandía, for dessert. THAT was beyond good– some awesome goat milk ice cream and divine flourless brownies.
But the highlight for me was having a Prickly Pear Caipirinha.
What the heckaroo is that?
First, it’s a really pretty pink drink:
It’s almost like a mojito, but instead of rum, bartenders use a Brazilian spirit called cachaça!
Cachaça (kaa- shaa- saa) was illegal to import to the US until just a few years ago– no clue why, really; blue laws are weird. It’s a distilled spirit made from sugar cane, and comparable to really good light rum. The traditional garnish for a plain (not-cactus or fruity) Caipirinha is a stick of sugar cane– totally awesome to chew on when drinking the cocktail!
(Ok, chew in a ladylike manner, not like a rodent.)
It was hard to discern the prickly pear from the lime in this particular drink, but here’s my best guess at the recipe:
2 ounces cachaça
1 ounce prickly pear essence
1-2 ounces soda
1 tsp brown sugar
Find a rock(in’) glass
Put two lime wedges at the bottom of your glass and muddle (i.e., pound the snot out of it)
Fill with ice
Add your brown sugar, cachaça, and prickly pear juice (or whatever fruit puree you have on hand)
Top with soda
Garnish with another lime slice and give a bit of a stir. Enjoy!
(It took me several tries to figure out how the put the “ç” in this post.)
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