Caipirinha is a traditional Brazilian cocktail made with Cachaca liquor, limes, and sugar. Three simple ingredients is all it takes to make this refreshing, sweet cocktail but there is a little more to it than just throwing them together. Prepared properly, this is an amazing sipping cocktail that’s perfect for hot weather.
WHAT IS CAIPIRINHA
Caipirinha is a traditional cocktail in Brazil. You can enjoy it in most Brazilian steakhouses across the states, as well as in many restaurants and bars. Although, unless I am at an authentic Brazilian restaurant, I have to ask how they prepare their Caipirinha because it’s very easy to screw up.
If it’s not prepared correctly, you will not be drinking a sweet and refreshing cocktail but straight up Cachaca instead. And trust me, that is not as pleasant as it might seem. Cachaca is a Brazilian spirit comparable to rum but it is not at all sweet. It’s made out of cane juice pressed from the raw sugarcane stalks. The juice is then fermented and distilled into rum-like spirit.
Although, Cachaca is comparable to rum, it is made with raw sugarcane juice and not one that has been processed into molasses like the rum we are familiar with. Therefore, it has an herb/plant like taste and not sweet.
Since Cachaca is not a sweet spirit, Caipirinha should be made with a good amount of sugar to balance out the strong taste of liquor. Muddling lime and sugar until sugar melts releases all the aromatic juices and oils from the lime to infuse this cocktail with great flavors.
WHAT YOU NEED TO MAKE CAIPIRINHA
Cachaca – since this cocktail has a very high liquor to other ingredients ratio, choose top shelf brand of Cachaca. Using better liquor will make a world of difference in this cocktail.
Lime – use ripe limes to get the most juice out of them.
Sugar – the best sugar to use is raw sugar, also known as turbinado. The downside to using raw sugar is that it takes a little longer to melt, so you would need to muddle the limes and sugar for a longer period of time. (You can substitute brown sugar or super fine sugar but in a slightly smaller amount.)
Muddler – muddler is a good tool to have especially if you make a lot of cocktails with fruit, herbs, and spices like caipirinhas, mojitos, juleps, and old fashioned. A muddler is used to mash, or muddle, fruit and herbs for cocktails. It is similar in function to a pestle but instead of being smooth at the end, it is ribbed to tenderize fruit and release all the juices and essential oils.
Old fashioned (rocks) glass – it’s a short tumbler that is perfect for a strong, sippable cocktail.
HOW TO MAKE CAIPIRINHA
Use room temperature limes so the juices melt sugar faster. Slice lime into slices or small chunks and add it to the glass. Add sugar and muddle, muddle, muddle! The goal is to make sure sugar is melted before adding Cachaca.
Add ice cubes almost to the top and and pour in Cachaca.
Use another larger glass (or a shaker) to pour the mixture back and forth a couple of times to mix.
Sip slowly and enjoy!
SOME MORE COCKTAILS TO TRY
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- 1 lime
- 1 1/2-2 tbsp raw sugar (turbinado) (If substituting brown sugar or super fine sugar, use less)
- 3 oz Cachaca
- Use room temperature limes so the juices melt sugar faster. Slice lime into slices or small chunks and add it to the glass.
- Add sugar and muddle, muddle, muddle! The goal is to make sure sugar is melted before adding Cachaca.
- Add ice cubes almost to the top and and pour in Cachaca.
- Use another larger glass (or a shaker) to pour the mixture back and forth a couple of times to mix.