Now that we have finally reached the semi-finals of the World Cup, the finalists will be determined this week, and we should all be prepared to plan our drinking accordingly. The countries that remain vying for soccer supremacy are Brazil, Germany, Argentina, and the Netherlands. All of these countries have their own drinking culture, and here with a few easy-to-make cocktails, we will give you a quick taste of each.
We will start with host Brazil, whose national cocktail is the Caipirinha, a deceptively simple mix of cachaça, lime and sugar. Cachaça is a rum-like liquor made from raw sugarcane juice that is, shall we say, a little rough around the edges. It can be found by the producer Leblon in most local ABC stores.
1 whole lime (cut into 6 chunks)
2 teaspoons sugar
2 oz cachaça
Muddle lime and sugar in a double old-fashioned (unlike our mint in the Julep, really go at this one), add cachaça and ice, stir until chilled.
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Brazil’s opponent on the way to the finals is Germany, a country with a rich history of beer drinking. I’m not here to tell you that you should forgo any of their delicious Lager, Pilsner, or Weiss bier. If, however, you are looking for something a little more interesting, try a Kir Royal.
1/4 to 1/2 ounce of Crème de Cassis (raspberry liquor)
Drop the Crème de Cassis in a champagne flute, top with champagne.
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Argentina is the home of a liquor that has its origins in Italy, but is now firmly rooted in the Argentinian culture. This drink is Fernet Branca, a dark, herbal liquor that has recently seen its popularity rise within the U.S. bartending community. The preferred method of imbibing this delicious liquid is with cola.
Fernet and Coke
3 oz Fernet Branca
Coke (get the kind made with real sugar, if you can)
Pour Fernet in glass full of ice, top with Coke, stir.
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We end our tour of nations with the Netherlands, another country with a history of brewing that is long, if not always of the highest quality (my apologies to Heineken drinkers). However, one of the finest and little known liquors also hails from this tiny nation. Genever is a precursor to modern gin that has as much in common with whiskey as it does today’s gin. While not currently available in Mecklenburg County, a quick trip across the state line to South Carolina will have you sipping a bottle of Bols. The most widely available brand in America happens to make a wonderful Martinez.
1-1/2 oz Genever
3/4 oz Sweet Vermouth
1 barspoon Orange Curacao or Maraschino Liquor
2 dashes Angostura Bitters
Pour all ingredients in a pint glass with ice. Stir until chilled (20 seconds or so), strain into cocktail glass.
Enjoy while cheering your favorite team to victory.
Kevin Gavagan is a musician, cabinetmaker, and a cocktail connoisseur. He's still searching for the perfect location to open his bar, Haunt, but until then he'll continue to bring his classic and modern cocktail interpretations to pop-up events around the Charlotte region. Follow him @HauntBar.