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After a week in Barcelona filled with intense museum going, architectural tours, walking for eight hours each day and eating overpriced food, I needed a break. My brilliant husband reviewed our guide book and stumbled upon a town called Sitges – a beautiful village nestled along the coast only 45 minutes from Barcelona. We packed our bags, walked to the train station, purchased tickets and shortly arrived at this beach town that many refer to as the “St. Tropez of Spain.” Mountains, warm sunny weather, expansive beaches, an azure ocean. Very low key, with great people watching. How bad could that be?
It turned out to be an unexpected and magical interlude for our vacation. We stayed in a quaint hotel along the beach that was clean and conveniently located right near San Sebastian beach. We meandered all over the town and hiked up the cliffs overlooking the ocean. It was paradise!
There were at least eight outdoor restaurants surrounding us, all serving fresh seafood and local Spanish fare. We found one of our favorites by accident. La Mentha, a small, authentic pub, was almost hidden down a winding cobblestone street. Spaniards tend to eat dinner around 10pm or even later which just didn’t work for me given the nine-hour time difference from Seattle. Much to my delight, La Mentha was actually serving food around 8pm! After the day’s activities, we were starved and ready to eat. Everything was prepared simply – just the way I like it. Seasonal fish, fresh vegetables and a light salad all tasted fantastic!!
And then there was the bar. They advertised Caipiringas, Brazil’s national cocktail and one of my favorites. Our Italian bartender told us he made them much like they do in Brazil. Bingo!
He muddled and squeezed fresh limes, combined it with turbanado sugar and homemade sweet and sour mix. With all the crushed ice, it quenched my thirst and tasted like the real deal. Salted peanuts were served as an accompaniment. We returned every day while in this lovely town and consistently ended our brunch or dinner with one of these homemade refreshments.
Mandarin Caipirinha (The orange was my wanna-be-bartender husband’s twist!)
- 1 lime, cut into 6 wedges
- 1 heaping Tbs. turbinado (raw) sugar (granulated sugar works but the turbinado sugar is pretty readily available and more authentic)
- 2 ½ oz Cachaca* (ours came from the neighborhood state liquor store)
- Juice of 1 satsuma orange (or juice of a ½ of a large juice orange)
- Finely crushed ice to fill the tall martini shaker ⅔ full (about 2 ½ cups)
* If you can’t find Cachaca – you can substitute light rum. But I highly recommend hunting down Cachaca!
Muddle the lime and sugar in the bottom of a martini shaker (follow this link to learn how to “muddle”). This releases the juices and oils from the limes.
Add Cachaca, and satsuma or orange juice.
Fill the shaker ⅔ full of crushed ice (we actually pound ice inside a cloth bag with a mallet!)
Shake well and pour all the liquid along with the limes and ice into a 16 ounce tall glass and fill the glass to the top with more crushed ice. Garnish with a lime wedge.
Stir and sip…it gets better as the ice melts!