It was time for the end of year party for my son’s soccer team and luckily for us it coincided with the World Cup. Of course we decided to throw a Brazil 2014 World Cup Party!
There were three party zones for the party. One for food and beverage service, one for eating & mingling and the last (and most important to the boys) was the soccer zone.
I knew that the rectangular area on one side of the house was the perfect soccer area. After all it had long ago been designated as such (with the missing grass in front of the goals to prove it). In the International spirit of the World Cup I decided that it would be fun to line the house (on one side) and the fence (on the other) with the flags from the World Cup teams. Luckily I found an assortment of 3 x 5 flags on soccer.com for $4-9 each. We even put up lights on the house and so the soccer didn’t have to stop when the sun went down!
The next zone was the food and beverage area. Our deck was the perfect location for that. A large square table in the middle decked out in a green tablecloth for the buffet with twinkling lights strung through the umbrella with a few paper lanterns. It is amazing how little lights can cast such a magical glow. Hung together were the Brazilian and US flags.
For the party favors I decided that little “World Cups” for each boy were in order. I had some leftover spray paint from my Olympic Rings which worked perfectly when sprayed on plastic beverage glasses. Of course they kids couldn’t drink out of them but they were the perfect container for lots of World Cup type treats…chocolates, a medal, World Cup trading cards and stickers and other little goodies.
The thing that helped add a large dose of festive fun was the addition of lots of different paper lanterns. I love that they are inexpensive, come in a multitude of colors, are easy to use and have a huge impact. I found great soccer ball lanterns at paperlanternstore.com and filled in with larger colored lanterns.
I used 5 of the 14″ soccer lanterns and then filled in with the much less expensive 16″ colored versions to fill out the tree. The colors were so bright and beautiful by day and with the small cafe lights were magical at night.
I enjoyed putting this together and look forward to hosting at least one more Brazil 2014 World Cup party before the fun ends in a couple of weeks!
Today’s World Cup Cocktails are Watermelon Caipirinhas. It is a variation on the famous Brazilian Caipirinhas which are lime based. This version has a splash of lime but watermelon is the star. Fresh and fruity this cocktail is just as light and delicious as the original recipe however it contains a bright snap of juicy watermelon sweetness.
I was asked a question about the muddler I described in the Brazilian Caipirinhas recipe. There are all sorts out there with price points varying widely. The one I use I picked up in the kitchen aisle of Target. The only job of a muddler is to mush the ingredients together and so unless you are planning on lots of muddling the wrong end of a wooden spoon works just as well. I fall into the muddling often crowd and so I am happy to own one.
The process for this cocktail is simple. Cut 6-7 cubes of watermelon (about 1/2-3/4 cup total). I find a riper watermelon works the best. Place the cubes into a cocktail shaker. There are two routes you can go with the sweetener. Either 1 oz. Simple Syrup or 1 TBLS. sugar. I prefer simple syrup (recipe below) but sugar will work fine. If you are using sugar add it to the watermelon now and muddle together (if adding simple syrup you’ll add it after the watermelon has been muddled). The watermelon should resemble a puree but not be completely smooth and liquid and the sugar should be dissolved. Once muddled add the simple syrup if using, 1 tsp. lime juice and 2 oz. Cachaca. Cachaca is a Brazilian liquor made of sugar cane. If you don’t have Cachaca you can substitute vodka (which would change it to a Watermelon Caipiroska).
Fill the shaker to the top with ice, cover, and shake, shake, shake. This cocktail needs to be icy cold. I shake it until I can barely hold onto the shaker for fear of freezing my fingers. Yes, that cold.
Pour your newly created Watermelon Caipirinhas into a highball glass. This cocktail does contain some of the watermelon pulp. If you don’t like that texture make sure you really muddle the watermelon well at the beginning to obtain the consistency you like. Garnish with a wedge of watermelon and sit back and enjoy!
1 cup water + 1 cup sugar. Heat in a saucepan, stirring. Bring to a boil and cook until sugar dissolves. Cool. Store in a jar in the refrigerator. (Is wonderful in ice tea)!
There is nothing like Brazilian Caipirinhas to kick off World Cup madness! I love the World Cup and so this is a time which can’t come quickly enough for me. As with the Olympics I always try and explore the food and drink not only of the host country but some of those participating in the event. This World Cup is in Brazil which offers a multitude of wonderful food and drink opportunities to enjoy during this month long celebration. The first stop on the culinary tour must be Caipirinhas. Not only is it the National Cocktail of Brazil it is also mind boggling delicious! It is a powered up limeade for grown ups. Fruity, ice cold and delicious this is a hot weather cocktail which should be in every well rounded drink rotation.
The foundation of the drink (apart from limes) is a Brazilian hard liquor made from sugar cane called Cachaca. Really there are only a few ingredients. Lime, Cachaca, sugar and ice. Four. That’s it. There are lots of variations using all sorts of fruits instead of limes which are also delicious, however, I thought today I would make the original lime version.
I allow one lime for each cocktail although limes can vary greatly in size and amount of juice they contain. The limes I used for mine today were on the small side and so I used a whole one for each cocktail. With a larger lime you may only need 1/2. Cut the lime in half. Cut each half into 4 slices. Muddle the 4 slices with 1 TBLS. sugar in the bottom of a highball glass. I chose to do this in a cocktail shaker as I like mine extra cold and shaking the muddled lime, sugar, cachaca with ice in the shaker produces a much colder cocktail.
The secret to the muddling is to release not only the juice from the limes but also some of the oil from the peel without destroying it completely. I do not like a grainy cocktail and so I make sure the sugar really dissolves at this point. If you don’t have a muddler (which looks like a little baseball bat sometimes with spikes on the bottom) you can use the wrong end of a wooden spoon. Muddling is really just what is sounds like, pressing and mushing the ingredients together. Okay, that was the most difficult part of making this cocktail. Not difficult I know but it gets even easier from here on out.
Next, add ice and top with 2 1/2 ounces cachaca (either into the highball glass or the shaker). If in the shaker the put the top on and shake away, pour (don’t strain) into a glass and enjoy (If in the highball glass give it a stir and you too can enjoy).
I am sure that Brazilian Caipirinhas will quickly become a summertime favorite just as they are here in our home. We had a little get together this last weekend and served them with a spicy guacamole. One word. Amazing. Enjoy the World Cup and while you are watching join in the fun with a little taste of Brazil!