The year between high school and college I was an exchange student to Brazil and was very lucky to live in Natal for the year. Located on the northeastern coast, the city was founded on December 25, 1599, and its name translates to Christmas in Portuguese. Given its name, it is no surprise that the city goes all out for the holiday, with a huge tree and lots of parties.
In Brazil, families tend to get together on Christmas Eve. People dress up in new clothes, Catholics attend mass, and a huge feast is served. The meal is normally be served around 10pm, and exactly at Midnight people greet each other, make a toast wishing everyone a Happy Christmas and after that they will exchange presents. The lunch on Christmas day is also special and after that some people go to relatives and friends houses to visit.
As Brazil’s population is a mix of many different cultures and people that originally came from different countries, the food served at these celebrations can vary. You may have Italian Panettone in São Paulo, Portuguese salted Cod in Rio de Janeiro, and some African style food in the states of Northeast Brazil. But one thing that all Brazilian’s share is their love of a Caipirinha.
A Caipirinha is a delicious and easy to make Brazilian drink. The traditional recipe calls for just 4 ingredients: Cachaça (Brazilian sugarcane-based spirit), limes, sugar, and ice. But there are plenty of variations you can make. Here is one that I like to make for Christmas to remind me of my year abroad and bring a little festive color to the bar!
Strawberry Caipirinha Recipe:
Cut a lime into quarters
Add into a glass with 2 large strawberries (with the hulls removed)
Add 1 Tbsp sugar (or 1/2 Tbsp if the strawberries are very sweet).
Muddle (mash) the ingredients
Add 2 oz (60 ml) Cachaça and stir. If you can’t find Cachaça, you can substitute Vodka and call it a Caipiroska, or Rum and call it a Caipiríssima, but I suggest going for the original if you can!
Fill the glass with ice cubes.
Garnish with a lime, strawberry and a fun Christmas Drink Stirrer.
Saúde e Feliz Natal! (Cheers and Merry Christmas!)