Climatempo, the Brazilian equivalent of the Weather Channel, today Rio de Janeiro is expecting a high temperature of 34C (93F) with lots of sun and the occasional shower. In São Paulo, it'll go up to 32C (90F) and be sunny, humid, with afternoon thundershowers. Fortaleza, where Flavors of Brazil comes from, should be a relatively pleasant 29C (88F) with lots of sun and a strong breeze. But in the interior of the state, where there are no trade winds to cool one off, the temperature is expected to reach 35C (92F). It seems that Brazil's hottest city tomorrow will be Cuiabá, the capital of the state of Mato Grosso and always one of the hottest spots in Brazil. There it's predicted to go up to 36F (96F).
With temperatures like these during the summer months, Brazilians are perennially desperate for a chilled drink . Icy beer is always an option, fruit juices are popular, and the traditional cooling cocktail, the caipirinha, remains a popular option. However, some Brazilians are now finding that the caipirinha, even though it has lots of ice cubes, doesn't have a lot of water and has a high level of alcohol which doesn't aid cooling. Because of this, when it's really hot many Brazilians are turning to variations of the Cuban drink, the mojito. It's becoming increasingly popular in bars, restaurants, nightclubs and at the beach because a mojito's CQ (cooling quotient) is inhanced by the addition of refreshing fresh mint and plenty of chilled soda water, and if only natural fruit juices are used, cooling isn't inhibited by an excess of sugar.
The following recipe is typical of one of the new generation Cubo-Brazilian mojitos. Or should that be Brazo-Cuban? However it's described, it's wonderfully refreshing, light and not overly-alcoholic, and absolutely delicious. Even if you have to wait until July or August for a really hot day to hit your northern hemisphere neighborhood, remember this drink and try it out then. It'll cool you right off.
RECIPE - Tangerine and Mango Mojito (Mojito de Tangerina e Manga)
Makes one drink
1/2 small ripe mango, peeled and cubed
1/2 tangerine, peeled, seeded but left in segments
6 or 7 fresh mint leaves, thoroughly washed
1 oz (2 Tbsp) white rum
soda water or bubbly mineral water
Process the mango cubes in a blender or food processor until you have a smooth pulp. Reserve.
Combine the tangerine segments and the mint leaves in a tall tumbler. Using the handle of a wooden spoon or a glass stirring rod, lightly mash them together. Do not over-mash. You want them to be bruised so that the flavors are released, but not completely mashed.
Add the rum, and then enough mango pulp to fill the glass no more than halfway. Add 3/4 cubes of ice, then fill with soda water. Stir gently to mix, being careful not to over-stir the soda water.
Let stand for a minute or two to chill, then serve.
Recipe translated and adapted from Gula magazine.