Festa Junina is one of the great cultural celebrations in Brazil. Though originating in Europe, it is a month-long, countrywide celebration where adults and children alike dress up, dance, and eat great food. While traditionally religious in nature, focusing on Saint Anthony and St. John, the celebrations have become quite secular.
My daughter and son both enjoy the holiday, but this year, because of Covid, there are no Festa Junina celebrations. Thus, this past weekend, we decided to have our own. We created games. We made food, and, at the behest of my wife, we made quentão.
Quentão can be made with either red wine or cachaça. But, of course, and again, at the behest of my wife, we made it with cachaça. Think of it like a traditional cold-weather drink, heated on the stove. It is, after all, Fall, here in Brazil. It was my first time making it, having found a recipe on the internet. With a few adjustments, I made it my own. And I have to say, it turned out quite well.
While only a small part of our celebration, it made the day brighter, and all of the adults a bit more jolly. So here, in all its glory, is my recipe for quentão:
1 cup sugar
600 ml water
600 ml silver cachaça
½ Tablespoon cinnamon
Heat the cup of sugar over medium heat until it begins to liquefy. Once it does, add the fresh ginger and cinnamon.
Allow the mix to boil for a few moments, and then add the water and cachaça. Put heat on low and let sit for fifteen to twenty minutes, stirring occasionally until the sugar dissolves completely.