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A taste of Java

Posted by felipeal on October 23, 2003 at 7:44 AM PDT

A couple of weeks ago, I went to Abaporu, one of the technical conferences organized by Soujava (a Top 25 Jug) in Brazil.

During the keynote, my friend Manoel Lemos was invited to talk about the the National Health Card Project, which has won the Duke's Choice Award in the Massive Scale category, during the last Java One. So, when he was called onstage, he brought the Dukie in one hand and a bottle of beverage in the other, and said something like: "Well, Brazil have had Java for many years, even before the language was invented" and showed the bottle.

So, with no further ado, here it is: Java, the Aguardente de Cana:

You might be wondering: what is a "Aguardente de Cana"? Well, it's Brazil's most traditional beverage, a distilled liquor made of sugar cane. It's a very strong beverage (some brands reach 45% alcohol), in some ways similar to vodka and tequila. It also has many nicknames (like caninha, cachaça and pinga) and drink recipes which can be made from it, specially the "caipirinha".

In fact, caipirinha is so popular that Bruno F. Souza always mentions that recipe in his presentations:

Caipirinha--"Little Country Girl" - Brazil's National Drink

  • Use a short glass. Cut a lime into 8 pieces. Add sugar to taste. Mash the lime and the sugar with the pestle until they are well mixed.
  • Add 3 cubes of crushed ice and fill the glass up with "cachaça". Mix it all, and that's it!
  • Place a lime slice on the brim of the glass for decoration, and serve it with a stick for stirring.
  • You can change "cachaça" for vodka, but then the drink name changes to "Caipiroska"

For those living in the Bay Area, you can find "cachaça" (among other Brazilian goods like guaraná) at least in the follow places:

  • Sousa's wines & liquors - a place which sell Portuguese and Brazilian products, located in Mountain View
  • Café Brasil - a very good Brazilian restaurant in Santa Cruz (they serve the best feijoada I ate in the US :-)
  • Joao's Restaurant - another Brazilian restaurant, located in Santa Clara
  • a couple of restaurants and stores in San Francisco - unfortunately I don't remember the address and names, but if you're interested, drop a message in the comments area below and I'll try to find out

There are also sites which sell Brazilian products online, like Sendex,
or those listed here (DISCLAIMER: I only bought products from Sendex before, and they are a good merchant. I don't know about the others).

I doubt you're going to find Java on these places, because it's a hand-crafted brand - although you can surely find other major brands like Velho Barreiro, Caninha 51, Tatuzinho or Ypioca. But for those leaving in Brazil, you can order Java here.

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