When I was studying in Spain, I used to drink these things called Caipirinhas. I had no idea at the time if they were indigenous to Spain, but I drank them anyway because I liked them, and I had never heard of or seen them stateside. Turns out, they aren't Spanish; they're Brazilian. They're made from sugar, lime and cachaça, an alcohol distilled from sugarcane, which is Brazil's most common spirit. Ever since returning from Spain, I have very rarely seen a Caipirinha on a cocktail menu, possibly because cachaça is often difficult to obtain outside of Brazil and apparently Spain. Lucky for me... us, there are Caipirinhas to be had right over on Broadway.
At 1904 Broadway, there's a place you might have heard of. Lime is a restaurant and bar that's been completely glittered with awards from polls and magazines and so forth. I must admit, I know absolutely nothing about the food, but the cocktail menu is another matter. There is an obvious South American/Caribbean vibe at Lime that is reflected strongly in their drink list. There are a number of serious margaritas and martinis, but do not miss the Mojitos and the house cocktails. The Caipirinhas are exactly and wonderfully what I remember drinking on the other side of the ocean. They also serve a Pisco Sour, a pleasantly unusual brandy cocktail, and a Dark n' Stormy, a dark and spicy mix of ginger beer and rum, among others.
And the Mojitos? Yes, please. If you're expecting some cheap rum, Mojito mix and a leaf of mint, you'll be highly disappointed at Lime. They don't mix; they muddle. Real sugar cane and fresh mint are smashed together with variations of fruit, depending on which Mojito you order. The classic Cuban Mojito is a tall, slim glass seemingly swimming with lime and sprouting hunks of mint. They're phenomenal, but if you want some heat, try the Mojito En Fuego. It's the same thing as the classic, but instead of lime it is "mango-habanero-ginger." It's got a nice warmth to it, but there are also strawberry and raspberry-pomegranate options for the fruitier types.
So, this is the point. I understand why Lime has won awards. In an open, lively place, there are classically made, fresh cocktails that are a far cry from over-sugared mixes and disappointing liquor. It may cost you a bit more, but a real Mojito or Caipirinha is well worth it. And you may only need one anyway. Seriously. They can get you.
Photo Credit: ryantxr