Well folks, spring is officially upon us and it's time to start wetting our whistles with some light, fun, refreshing drinks that are more conducive to outdoor frolicking than hermiting next to an open hearth or space heater.
And what better liquor to inspire such a creation than sweet, beloved rum, everybody's favorite molasses-based distilled booze, which Station North's (and Power Plant Live's) Joe Squared happens to have an enormous selection of.
Joe Squared has a number of classic rum cocktails on its list, a few innovations to boot, and one particular take on Brazil's national cocktail — the Caipriña (or Caipirinha, if you prefer) — the Spicy Orange Caipriña.
Your standard Caipriña consists of Cachaca, a fermented sugar cane liquor that is uniquely Brazilian, with sugar and lime juice. Sort of like a Mojito, but without the mint (and don't ever refer to Cachaca as "Brazilian Rum" in front of a Brazilian). But bartender David Bersch and crew have taken the Caipriña and flipped it on its ear, beefing it up in the face-punching department by adding cayenne pepper-infused gold rum, brown sugar-lime simple syrup, orange juice and a bit of salt on top.
To put it in obvious terms, Bersch notes, "We've put our own spin on the classic drink, all of our infusions and syrups are made in house so they're as fresh as possible." And you can really taste the difference. I'm a total sucker for spicy drinks, and the Spicy Orange Caipriña delivers equal parts sweet, sour, and a good dose of heat to their version all at once, resulting in a cocktail you might finish all too soon and find yourself ordering another. It's just that tasty.
So while most people may be aware of Joe Squared's many pizzas of note and a wide variety of risottos, the rum selection is more than likely the best in the city. As if they needed another feather in their caps. And with cocktails like the Caipriña on the list, another feather well earned.
How to make the Spicy Orange Caipriña
1 oz. house-spiced gold rum (infused with cayenne to taste, any brand will do)
1 oz. aged Toucano Cachaca
1 1/2 oz. brown sugar-lime simple syrup
1 oz. orange juice
Orange and lime zest
pinch of salt
Combine all ingredients over ice, shake. Strain into tall glass over ice, garnish with orange and lime zest, add pinch of salt to top.
Where to get the Spicy Orange Caipriña
133 W. North Ave., Station North