A South American classic, the caipirinha is Brazil’s national cocktail. Created with a blend of cachaca, sugar, and lime, it’s wonderfully sweet and surprisingly refreshing too, perfect for sipping on a summer’s day or sharing with friends from a large jar.
History of the Caipirinha
Like many cocktails, this Brazilian drink has a hazy history, and nobody is quite clear on where or how it was first officially created. One story suggests that the drink came about in 1918, originally blended with honey and garlic to ward off the Spanish flu. Another tale claims that the drink is an off-shoot of the Portuguese ‘Poncha’ – a traditional drink made with cane sugar liquor, sugar, and lemon juice.
Yet another theory claims that the drink was invented by Brazilian farmers in the State of Sao Paulo. This would explain the name, as the word ‘caipara’ means ‘rural people’ in Brazilian Portuguese. But regardless of which story is true, the drink has strong associations with Brazil and has proven popular elsewhere around the world too, savored for its rich sweetness and favored by many people as a ‘home remedy’ for common colds, too.
How to Make It – Recipe
You only need a few simple ingredients to put this cocktail together, and the preparation is relatively simple, so you won’t need to be an expert mixer to whip up a glass. The ingredients below should produce enough to fill an old-fashioned glass, but you can adjust accordingly if you’re preparing a larger batch to share with friends.
- 2 oz (60ml) of cachaca
- Four teaspoons of sugar
- One lime
- Ice cubes
- Cut the lime into small segments
- Place the lime pieces and sugar into your old-fashioned glass and mash them together with a muddler or spoon
- Add the ice cubes to the glass
- Pour over the cachaca to finish, and enjoy
View this post on Instagram
One of the beautiful aspects of this particular cocktail is that you can play around with the formula in a lot of fun, fruity ways. Many Brazilians and other cocktail connoisseurs across the globe like to exchange the lime for other fruits, such as kiwi, strawberry, and passion fruit, or you can keep the lime and add these other fruits to add additional layers to the final flavor. Here are a few other variations you might like to try:
- Caipifruta – Hugely popular in Brazil, the caipifruta is made of cachaca, crushed ice, and a range of different fruits like tangerine, lime, pineapple, grapes, and mango
- Caipiroska – A Russian take on this South American cocktail, the caipiroska is made with vodka in place of cachaca
- Sakerinha – You can also try a Japanese take on this cocktail by switching out the cachaca for sake
- Caipirissima – A caipirissima is another interesting take on this cocktail, blended with rum rather than cachaca
This cocktail is an important part of Brazil’s identity, right up there with samba and soccer as an integral component of Brazilian lifestyle and culture. It’s a cocktail with a lot of character and personality, and it’s the perfect choice for people who like their drinks sweet, tangy, and refreshing.