Macunaíma

Difford's Guide
User Rating

Ingredients

Barware

Flavour Profile

Gentle
Boozy
Sweet
Sour

Nutrition

There are approximately 179 calories in one serving of Macunaíma.

Styles & Flavours

Times, Seasons & Occasions

Bartender

Macunaíma image

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 Novo Fogo Silver cachaça
2/3 fl oz Lemon juice (freshly squeezed)
1/2 fl oz Giffard Sugar Cane Syrup
1/4 fl oz Fernet Branca
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Review:

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

Pronounced 'ma-cu-nayma'

History:

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 to be held in Brazil later that year.

Many considered the previous 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, considered one of the founding texts of Brazilian modernism.

This remains by far the most popular cocktail at Boca de Ouro with 500 to 600 Macunaímas sold each month. The ingredients have not changed, but Arnaldo says that the proportions have evolved to make the cocktail less sweet. The recipe used at the bar today:

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, 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 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.

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