Monday, June 20, 2011

The Other Brazilian Cocktail

I always read with delight Jeff’s tales of Tales of the Piano Bar.
And I love how he ends every post with a recipe for a cocktail.

So, today, I’ve decided to take a page from his book.

Back in March of 2010, I wrote a post telling you folks about cachaça and caipirinhas:

The caipirinha (the name translates as “little country girl”) is Brazil’s great cocktail of success, the one that spilled across our borders into the bars of half the world.

But how many of you have heard of the Caju Amigo? (Friendly Cashew.)

Aha! Got you there, didn’t I? (Most of you anyway.)

Caju Amigos are, basically, a mixture of cachaça (if you don’t know what that is, please click on the link above) and juice from the cashew fruit.

Yeah, that’s right. Fruit.

The cashew fruit is native to Brazil.

The name, in English, is derived from the name in Portuguese.
And the name in Portuguese originated with our Tupi Indians, who called the fruit acajú, which means “yellow head”.

See that little appendage on the bottom?
That’s a double shell.

Which contains the nut.

The shell is quite poisonous.
The nuts have to be carefully roasted to destroy the toxins.

But the fruit is anything but poisonous.
And it’s quite delicious.

I don’t think it’s likely you’ll  have a cashew tree in your garden.

Not unless you happen to live in Brazil, Goa, the Philippines, Panama, Mozambique, Malaysia, Thailand, or a few other places around the world where their cultivation is popular.

The juice, however, is a different story.
You can get it in many major cities.
I’ve bought it in New York, San Francisco, London, Paris and Rome.
And I always found it the same way: by going onto the internet and locating a shop that sold Brazilian products.

And once you score a bottle of the stuff, there’s nothing simpler than making a Caju Amigo. All you have to do is to mix 2 parts of cachaça, one part cashew juice and a teaspoon of sugar. That’s it!

Serve it in a tall, chilled glass, over ice. Use vodka, or even rum if you can’t get cachaça.

You can also put the ingredients on a blender – and call it a Batida de Cajú.

But, if you’re lucky enough to be able to get your hands on one of the fruits, then try it this way:

Put a slice in your mouth and chew it. Then take a shot of straight cachaça – and swallow the fruit and the drink at the same time.

That’s the way the machos do it.


Leighton - Monday


  1. The photos are terrific!

    But, I've always had such trouble remembering (and pronouncing) the names of those fabulous Brazilian cocktails that whenever I tried to order one the bartenders would cut me off. He or she would said something along the lines of "If you're not sober enough to pronounce it, you can't have it."

    That's why I remain a one syllable drinker.

    Loved it.


  2. I love cashews. On occasion, I take a medication that sets up a craving for cashews (or gives me an excuse to eat cashews).

    Discovering that they can be highly poisonous is information I was happier no knowing.

  3. I always thought "caju" was an Indian word, as in Asian Indian. Now I know we got it from the Portuguese (who were there before the British).

    In any case, I will be trying this recipe tonight...

  4. I love yours and Jeff's cocktail recipes.

    But my liver hates them.

    Keep 'em coming!

  5. Caipirinha? Sounds like a fish that´s ready to eat you, but I must admit the ingredients look like something I might enjoy! ;)

    NB: I moved my blog recently; I hope you´ll add it to your blogroll.

  6. Hi Dorte,
    It's done!
    The new blog looks lovely.
    And I'm sorry we didn't make the change before now.