|A Sip of Brazil|
I had never heard of a caipirinha when offered it by Brazilian friend last year. If you expressed such ignorance today, you would get the same incredulous stares my friend gave me a year ago.
This is the era of the caipirinha -- Brazil's national concoction, for those of you not already in the know. Its main ingredient -- cachaca -- has been dubbed the new girl from Ipanema, sashaying onto the U.S. scene and captivating connoisseurs as she goes. Your ever-savvy TheStreet.com reporter was sipping one just the other day and lamenting that the U.S. took so long to catch up with the rest of the world, where cachaca, a rum-like drink, is the third most popularly consumed spirit, just after vodka and soju (a Korean liquor). Increasingly, fans the world over are saying obrigado ("thank you") to a small but growing number of companies that are bringing cachaca, once associated with a rustic spirit and hangover nightmares, to top-shelf cocktails.