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
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.
What alcohol is cachaca?
Cachaca is a type of Brazilian rum. It is a distilled spirit made from sugarcane, and it is exclusively produced in Brazil.
What’s the difference between a mojito and a caipirinha?
The main difference between a mojito and a caipirinha is that a caipirinha is made with cachaca, whereas a mojito is made with white rum. A mojito is also usually made with mint and limes, while the caipirinha is just made with limes.
Is a caipirinha the same as a margarita?
No, a caipirinha is not the same as a margarita, although both are made with limes. A caipirinha uses cachaca, while a margarita is made with tequila and also contains orange liqueur.
Does cachaca taste like rum?
Cachaca is technically a type of rum, but it might not taste like your usual bottle. Cachaca has a lighter, fruitier flavor. Cachaca is made with fresh sugar cane, whereas rum is made from molasses, which is cooked, so cachaca has a cleaner flavor.
Is cachaca stronger than rum?
No, cachaca is actually lower in alcohol content than most rums.