The Caipiroska is a popular take on the classic Caipirinha cocktail from Brazil. Keep reading to find out more about the history of this twist on the traditional recipe and how to make one from the comfort of home.
History of the Caipiroska
The chances are that if you’ve been in a cocktail bar recently, you’ve seen a Caipirinha on offer. It’s the national drink of Brazil, deeply loved by residents of the country and increasingly popular among drink connoisseurs all over the world.
The exact origins of the cocktail aren’t known to historians, but it’s generally believed to have been invented by landowning farmers in the Brazilian countryside during the 19th century.
It was used for parties and events as a sign of sophistication and status, as opposed to the traditional method of drinking cachaça straight or on the rocks.
Cachaça, a sugar cane spirit similar to rum, is the main ingredient of a Caipirinha. The difference between the two is that rum is distilled using molasses, a dark-colored, syrupy byproduct that results from processing raw sugar.
Cachaça, on the other hand, is derived from the fresh-pressed juice of sugar cane. Then, it’s aged in barrels of indigenous woods of the Brazilian rainforest, while rum is aged inside oak barrels from different regions.
While some people would scoff at substituting cachaça for any other spirit, bartenders have been playing around with the Caipirinha recipe for years now. You can get an entirely new experience by adding different spirits, fruits, and mixers into the iconic blend.
Somewhere along the line, someone decided to substitute vodka for cachaça, and the Caipiroska was born. While cachaça has a complex, sweet and earthy profile that makes any drink it touches infinitely more complex, vodka is much more straightforward.
Mixologists use vodka when they want to emphasize the other ingredients and take the spotlight off of the spirit. It’s a light spirit that’s noticeably low in calories, making it the perfect alternative for someone watching their weight. In regards to the Caipiroska, the vodka emphasizes the citrus flavor than its traditional counterpart.
Whether or not you prefer cachaça in yours, it can’t be denied that the Caipiroska is a worthy take on the classic formula. It retains the full flavor profile of the cocktail while sacrificing the funkiness of the original cachaça spirit, often preferable for those who aren’t used to the exotic flavor.
The Caipiroska is one of the simplest drinks you can make and doesn’t require that many ingredients. Chances are, you already have everything you need in your kitchen or personal bar.
- Vodka – 2 ounces (60ml)
- Lime – Full fruit cut into quarters
- Simple Syrup or granulated/raw sugar – 1 ounce (30ml)
- Garnish – Lime wheel or wedge
Directions to Make a Caipiroska
While it’s preferable to have a Boston shaker, you can choose to mix all of the ingredients directly in the glass, and the drink will turn out just fine.
- Fill a rocks glass with cracked ice.
- Take your quartered lime and simple syrup/sugar, add both to your Boston shaker.
- Muddle the limes and sugar together, being mindful to extract the juice but not destroy the rine.
- Dump ice from a rocks glass into your shaker and add your vodka. Shake until chilled.
- Dump all ingredients from the shaker directly back into the rocks glass. Garnish with your lime wheel or wedge.