Macunaíma

Difford's Guide
Discerning Drinkers (141 ratings)

Serve in an

Old-fashioned glass

Garnish:

None

How to make:

SHAKE all ingredients with ice and strain into chilled glass (no ice).

1 2/3 fl oz Cachaça
2/3 fl oz Lemon juice (freshly squeezed)
1/2 fl oz Sugar syrup 'rich' (2 sugar to 1 water, 65.0°Brix)
1/4 fl oz Fernet Branca liqueur
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Review:

A cachaça sour given additional bittersweet herbal depth of flavour by a dash of fernet.

History:

Pronounced 'Ma-cu-nayma', this is adapted from a recipe created in 2014 by Arnaldo Hirai at his Boca de Ouro bar in São Paulo, Brazil. According to Arnaldo, his recipe started to take shape in 2014 and was almost called Caxirola, after the rattle created by Carlinhos Brown to be the official musical instrument for the World Cup in Brazil later that year.

Many considered the 2010 World Cup, held in South Africa, to be marred by the oppressively noisy Vuvuzela and the Caxirola was intended to be a quieter alternative. The instrument not only failed to catch on but was banned in football stadiums. Fortunately, rather than an unsuccessful Brazilian musical instrument, Arnaldo chose to name his cocktail after the 1928 novel by Brazilian writer Mário de Andrade which was considered one of the founding texts of Brazilian modernism.

The Macunaímas quickly became the most popular cocktail at Arnaldo's Boca de Ouro bar with 500 to 600 sold each month. The ingredients remained constant, but Arnaldo says that the proportions have evolved to make the cocktail less sweet. The recipe used at the bar:

50ml (1 2⁄3oz) Cachaça
20ml (2⁄3oz) Lime juice
20ml (2⁄3oz) Sugar syrup (1:1)
7ml (1⁄4) Fernet Branca

When I first translated this recipe from Portuguese I mistook lime juice for lemon. But when corrected by Marcelo Sant'Iago, then editor of Difford's Guide Brazil, I retried this cocktail made with both citrus juices alongside each other and concluded that I much prefer the lemon. It's delicious with lime but even better with lemon. That said, I find limes in Brazil sweeter and more fragrant than those shipped to the UK so my preference may be different if making this cocktail in Brazil.

I've also taken the liberty of swapping out 20ml of 1:1 sugar syrup for 15ml of 2:1 sugar. However, with 12.5ml of 2:1 sugar syrup and 2.5ml of 3:1 honey syrup, this cocktail is even more divine.

Nutrition:

One serving of Macunaíma contains 180 calories.

Alcohol content:

  • 1.3 standard drinks
  • 19.99% alc./vol. (39.98° proof)
  • 18.5 grams of pure alcohol
Difford's Guide remains free-to-use thanks to the support of the brands in green above. Values stated for alcohol and calorie content, and number of drinks an ingredient makes should be considered approximate.

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Buy direct from
the_whisky_exchange store logo
£ -.--

Makes a minimum of ... cocktails
Just £ -.-- per cocktail*

* This list may not include all required ingredients.
Price per cocktail is an estimate based on the cost of making one cocktail with the available ingredients shown above and does not include any postage charges.
Buy direct from Difford’s Guide
Difford's Easy Jigger
£8.72 £8.72 exc VAT
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