Devastating rains, a plague and extortion in Mexico’s lime-producing regions recently sent case prices for the citrus fruit into the triple digits. With the World Cup approaching in Brazil, this also sent bartenders into a tailspin seeking lime-free alternatives for their caipirinhas (muddled limes, sugar and cachaça). “Limeageddon” may be over, but Las Vegas mixologist Raul Faria’s limeless ode to Brazil’s national cocktail is also his ticket to the World Cup. With its blend of Leblon Cachaça, muddled lemons, fresh watermelon juice and sparkling sake, Faria’s Suika Caipirinha won the Leblon World Cup Bartending competition, and keeps on winning as the official World Cup cocktail at Gordon Ramsay Pub in Caesars Palace.
As served at Gordon Ramsay Pub & Grill in Caesars Palace, $15
In a 12-ounce double Old Fashioned glass, muddle one half a lemon cut into four pieces with 1 tablespoon of granulated sugar. Add 1½ ounces Leblon Cachaça and 2 ounces fresh watermelon juice. Fill the glass with ice, transfer the contents into a mixing tin, cover and shake. Transfer the contents back into the double Old Fashioned glass and top with 1 ounce Zipang sparkling sake. Add more ice if necessary and garnish with a lemon wheel and three picked watermelon chunks. Fun fact: Suika is Japanese for watermelon.