4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs

Grant Grill’s Caipirihna

Bruce Tilley of Grant's Grill
Bruce Tilley of Grant's Grill

The national drink of Brazil, the caipirinha (kye-pee-ree-nah) has had such a powerful attraction for Brazilians that it almost brought the Ford Motor Company to a screeching halt. After Henry Ford discovered that the low labor output among his Brazilian workers was due to their high caipirihna input, he outlawed the drink at Fordlandia, his Brazilian factory-village that processed the rubber plants used to make his vehicles’ tires.

Grant Grill’s Caipirihna

While the caipirinha hasn’t yet had the same impact in the U.S., Grant Grill barman Bruce Tilley is doing what he can to help the cause.

“I encourage people to try a caipirinha,” he says with a mild shrug. “If they like it, they like it; if they don’t, I make them something else.”

The caipirinha’s slight edge, Tilley tells me, comes from the base liquor in the drink — cuchaca (coo-sha-sah), a distillate of fermented sugar cane. Its taste and versatility, he says, rests somewhere between rum and tequila.

“You can tell cuchaca is a cane beverage because of the sweetness to it,” he says, “but it definitely has a cleaner taste than rum. It is hard to describe, and because it’s such a simple base liquor, like vodka, whatever you put into it is how it’s going to taste. It’s a sponge that way.”

Because of cuchaca’s flexibility, Tilley says, the imagination can take the lead without fear in experimenting with the drink.

“The basic caipirihna is made with lemon and lime,” he says, “but you can pretty much choose whatever fresh fruit you have to add to it. When we first introduced the drink, we included an infusion of mixed berries — raspberries, strawberries, blueberries, and blackberries. It almost wound up tasting like a pinot noir — but obviously a pinot noir with a much stronger alcohol content.”

Kitchen Proof: Whether you stick with the straight lemon-and-lime version (which I prefer) or add raspberries or other fruit, the sweetened fruitiness cancels the cuchaca’s slight diesel taste while retaining and complementing the liquor’s natural sweetness.

Grant Grill’s Caipirihna

  • In an old fashion glass, muddle:
  • 1 fresh lime, halved or quartered
  • ½ fresh lemon
  • halved or quartered
  • (optional: 4–5 fresh raspberries)
  • 1 teaspoon of sugar
  • Fill glass with ice and pour:
  • 2 oz. cuchaca
  • 1 heavy splash simple syrup
  • Top with soda water.

Grant Grill

326 Broadway,

San Diego

619-744-2077

grantgrill.com

Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all

Previous article

Rifkin’s Festival riffs on the greats

Former film professor Rifkin does his best work on his back sound asleep, dreaming in black-and-white
Next Article

Disclosure-shy developers draw hand-slap ethics fine

Three-day filing deadlines stretched three weeks by pro-tax housing campaign
Bruce Tilley of Grant's Grill
Bruce Tilley of Grant's Grill

The national drink of Brazil, the caipirinha (kye-pee-ree-nah) has had such a powerful attraction for Brazilians that it almost brought the Ford Motor Company to a screeching halt. After Henry Ford discovered that the low labor output among his Brazilian workers was due to their high caipirihna input, he outlawed the drink at Fordlandia, his Brazilian factory-village that processed the rubber plants used to make his vehicles’ tires.

Grant Grill’s Caipirihna

While the caipirinha hasn’t yet had the same impact in the U.S., Grant Grill barman Bruce Tilley is doing what he can to help the cause.

“I encourage people to try a caipirinha,” he says with a mild shrug. “If they like it, they like it; if they don’t, I make them something else.”

The caipirinha’s slight edge, Tilley tells me, comes from the base liquor in the drink — cuchaca (coo-sha-sah), a distillate of fermented sugar cane. Its taste and versatility, he says, rests somewhere between rum and tequila.

“You can tell cuchaca is a cane beverage because of the sweetness to it,” he says, “but it definitely has a cleaner taste than rum. It is hard to describe, and because it’s such a simple base liquor, like vodka, whatever you put into it is how it’s going to taste. It’s a sponge that way.”

Because of cuchaca’s flexibility, Tilley says, the imagination can take the lead without fear in experimenting with the drink.

“The basic caipirihna is made with lemon and lime,” he says, “but you can pretty much choose whatever fresh fruit you have to add to it. When we first introduced the drink, we included an infusion of mixed berries — raspberries, strawberries, blueberries, and blackberries. It almost wound up tasting like a pinot noir — but obviously a pinot noir with a much stronger alcohol content.”

Kitchen Proof: Whether you stick with the straight lemon-and-lime version (which I prefer) or add raspberries or other fruit, the sweetened fruitiness cancels the cuchaca’s slight diesel taste while retaining and complementing the liquor’s natural sweetness.

Grant Grill’s Caipirihna

  • In an old fashion glass, muddle:
  • 1 fresh lime, halved or quartered
  • ½ fresh lemon
  • halved or quartered
  • (optional: 4–5 fresh raspberries)
  • 1 teaspoon of sugar
  • Fill glass with ice and pour:
  • 2 oz. cuchaca
  • 1 heavy splash simple syrup
  • Top with soda water.

Grant Grill

326 Broadway,

San Diego

619-744-2077

grantgrill.com

Sponsored
Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all
Previous article

Eucalyptus transformed San Diego landscape, oleander sends me over the edge

Our rare Engelmann oaks, our most endangered plants, illustrated guide to local palms, a Fall guide to Zoo flora
Next Article

The healthy doubt of Park Hill Church

Doubt belongs in the journey of faith, just as hunger belongs in your pursuit of food
Comments
0

Be the first to leave a comment.

Sign in to comment

Sign in

Art Reviews — W.S. Di Piero's eye on exhibits Ask a Hipster — Advice you didn't know you needed Best Buys — San Diego shopping Big Screen — Movie commentary Blurt — Music's inside track Booze News — San Diego spirits City Lights — News and politics Classical Music — Immortal beauty Classifieds — Free and easy Cover Stories — Front-page features Excerpts — Literary and spiritual excerpts Famous Former Neighbors — Next-door celebs Feast! — Food & drink reviews Feature Stories — Local news & stories From the Archives — Spotlight on the past Golden Dreams — Talk of the town Here's the Deal — Chad Deal's watering holes Just Announced — The scoop on shows Letters — Our inbox [email protected] — Local movie buffs share favorites Movie Reviews — Our critics' picks and pans Musician Interviews — Up close with local artists Neighborhood News from Stringers — Hyperlocal news News Ticker — News & politics Obermeyer — San Diego politics illustrated Of Note — Concert picks Out & About — What's Happening Overheard in San Diego — Eavesdropping illustrated Poetry — The old and the new Pour Over — Grab a cup Reader Travel — Travel section built by travelers Reading — The hunt for intellectuals Roam-O-Rama — SoCal's best hiking/biking trails San Diego Beer — Inside San Diego suds SD on the QT — Almost factual news Drinks All Around — Bartenders' drink recipes Sheep and Goats — Places of worship Special Issues — The best of Sports — Athletics without gush Street Style — San Diego streets have style Suit Up — Fashion tips for dudes Theater Reviews — Local productions Theater antireviews — Narrow your search Tin Fork — Silver spoon alternative Under the Radar — Matt Potter's undercover work Unforgettable — Long-ago San Diego Unreal Estate — San Diego's priciest pads Waterfront — All things ocean Your Week — Daily event picks
4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
Close