Credit: E Michael Wolf
In the botequins of Brazil – those vibrant café-cum-bistros you’ll invariably find on every block in Rio de Janeiro – the cafezinho flows in rivers not dissimilar in size to the Amazon.
Cafezinho, translated from the Portugese for ‘small coffee’, might look like your humble cup of coffee, but in reality it’s so much more – it’s a ritual over which relationships are forged, strengthened and made anew with each sip. The diminutive coffee is taken straight up, served media (with milk) or pintado (with just a ‘spot’ of milk); it’s drunk hot to-go at the break of day, or carioca (with added water) while lingering over the end of a long meal. Whatever the climate and whatever the occasion – and Brazilians are notoriously good at finding one – cafezinho is treated with the kind of passion you’d expect from the world’s largest coffee-producing nation.
The country’s love affair with coffee is rivalled perhaps only by its affection for its most popular indigenous spirit: cachaça (pronounced kah-SHAH-sah), a vegetal, moreish libation distilled from freshly-pressed cane juice and synonymous with Brazil’s reigning national cocktail, the caipirinha (pronounced kai-pee-REEN-ya).
Credit: Earl Leaf/Michael Ochs Archives and DeAgostini/Getty Images
It’s only apt then that the two refreshments, which are amongst the world’s most popular drinks in the world (thanks in no small part to the sheer size of Brazil’s population) would also make for perfect companions in the same glass, here created by The Barber Shop’s Mike Enright using Nespresso’s Limited Edition coffee, ‘Cafezinho Do Brasil’.
“When I’m trying to come up with a new recipe for a cocktail and I want to include coffee, what I generally look for is the strength of the coffee, which I think is really important” Enright told GRAZIA during a cocktail masterclass.
Not only is it important to consider the strength of the coffee, Enright says, it’s vital that you enhance those specific notes with, for example, a complimentary element that allows the former to shine – in this case, almond syrup.
The result is a marriage of two giants of Brazil’s dynamic culture in a velvet smooth cocktail that sings with unexpected notes of walnut and sandalwood from the coffee marrying well with the drink’s more herbaceous elements.
And with that, the reign of the caipirinha is starting to look a little less secure.
SPIRIT OF BRAZIL
60ML LEBLON CACHAÇA
25ML NESPRESSO CAFEZINHO DO BRASIL
10ML ANGOSTURA BITTERS
5ML ALMOND SYRUP
4-6 X SPRIGS BURNT THYME
Add all ingredients into a shaker with cubed ice. Shake six times and strain into another shaker. Dry shake four times and pour into a chilled Nick and Nora Glass. Flame four to six sprigs of thyme and place the glass over the herbs to smoke the glass. Garnish with three drops of coriander oil.
This cocktail features Nespresso’s Cafezinho do Brasil. Intensity 9. Shop Nespresso Cafezino Do Brasil Limited Edition here.