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Beverage Director Scott Clime of the wonderful Ceiba in Washington, DC taught us how to make a perfect caipirinha.
- 1 ½ Ounce Pitu Cachaça
- 1 lime, cut into 8 wedges
- 2 Teaspoons refined sugar
Build the drink in a highball glass. Add four lime wedges (reserving remaining wedges for additional drink or optional garnish) and refined bar sugar, and muddle ingredients thoroughly. Then add the Pitu Cachaça, ice and shake vigorously. Pour into a rocks glass and enjoy.
Calories Per Serving150
Folate equivalent (total)5µg1%
Mojito fans in particular will love this light, zesty yet punchy cocktail from Brazil. It's made with just three ingredients - cachaça, lime and sugar.
Published: February 21, 2020 at 12:44 pm
Mix up a classic caipirinha, then check out our mojito, piña colada, mai tai, banana daiquiri and plenty more summer cocktail recipes.
What is a caipirinha?
The national drink of Brazil and made with the country’s sugarcane spirit, cachaça, the origins of this drink are unclear. Some think it emerged from Portuguese slave traders who mixed cachaça, sugar and limes together to create a palatable drink that would prevent them from getting scurvy on the long voyage back to Europe.
Mojito fans in particular will love this light, zesty yet punchy cocktail.
How to make a caipirinha
Try rolling the limes on a worksurface before cutting as this will help release the juices and essential oils.
Use the end of a rolling pin to muddle together the lime wedges and sugar in an old fashioned glass or tumbler. Fill the glass with ice, pour over the cachaça and stir well until combined and the ice has diluted a little before serving.
The caipirinha (kai-purr-REEN-yah) is the national drink of Brazil. It's the most popular cocktail in the South American country, and everyone has their own way of making it. Today, it is a hit worldwide and should be on every home and pro bartender's essential drink list.
The basic caipirinha recipe is straightforward and requires just three ingredients: cachaça, lime, and sugar. Like the old-fashioned and mojito, this is a muddled cocktail, though the liquor of choice here is cachaça. Sometimes erroneously called Brazilian rum, it's distilled from fresh sugarcane juice rather than molasses. Cachaça is not as sweet as rum and has a grassy, vegetal taste that is wonderful when enhanced with the caipirinha's sweet lime flavor.
A favorite summertime cocktail, the caipirinha is one of the most refreshing drinks you can mix up. It's the perfect introduction for anyone new to cachaça and an excellent way to explore and compare different brands. Plus, it can serve as inspiration for many other tasty drinks.
What is Caipirinha?
Caipirinha (pronounced kai-pee-ree-nyah) is Brazil’s national cocktail! It is traditionally made with cachaça (ka-shah-suh) – a sugarcane distilled spirit -, lime and sugar.
The right way to prepare a caipirinha is by layering the ingredients. Lime and sugar go in first, and get muddled to release the lime juices. Then, you add the ice and finally the liquor.
Technically, the bartender shouldn’t even stir the drink, as caipirinhas are served with wooden stirrers so people can stir as they drink!
This is very good. Again, do not muddle the lime Rine and do not muddle with the alcohol in the glass.
I BELIEVE MICHAEL SCHUMACHER THE FORMULA 1 DRIVER LIKES THIS DRINK BECAUSE RUBENS INTRODUCED IT TO HIM, I WOULDNT MIND TRYING THIS, I HAVE HEARD SO MUCH ABOUT IT FROM MICHAEL SCHUMACHER I FEEL THAT IF HE LIKES IT ,IT CANT BE ALL THAT BAD, IT SEEMS TO KEEP HIM ON THE BALL AND DONE NO HARM.
Yes. How to prevent fatigue from muddling the limes and sugar. Well it's great to have someone make them for you but once you get a rhythm going it's not very hard to crank out 20+ well made caipirinhas rapidly. The next best thing is to show your friends how to make them and take turns. Just always remember to cut your limes in advance to prevent accidents from happening. Never ever try to cut limes while drinking alcohol. A liter bottle is about 20 large servings at 1.7 oz of cachaça per drink. The superfine sugar is the key, use regular sugar and you can muddle all day long with poor results and very sore arms. Pitchers settle so I stay away from them but it is possible to make caipirinhas by the pitcher. Part of the joy of having an individually made caipirinha is how the flavor change as the ice in the drink melts. The drink starts strong and finishes light and sweet when you are down to the ice. Made by the pitcher and you loose this important dynamic. Usually I use about 10-12 large limes per liter of cachaça (1/2 lime per caipirinha) and sugar to taste (usually totals about 3/4 a pound of superfine sugar per liter).
This is the recipe I use all the time. However, if you are going to throw a party like Gourmet suggests, you will need to make a pitcher at a time. Try using a small can of frozen limeade, about a bottle of cacacha, LOTS and LOTS of lime quarters and juice, and sugar to taste. Serve in a pitcher or a big punch bowl and let your guests server over glasses of pre-crushed ice. Made my Carnivale party a smash hit.
We have a friend from Brazil who introduced us to this fantastic drink a few years ago. Perfect for barbaque's, southwest cuisine, and hot summer nights! I have never seen this made by the pitcher, David, if you check back, what would that do to the quality of the drink? It seems like one would be muddling limes forever! Try this, it is wonderful!
One more: if you can get key limes, by all means make a caipirinha with them - they are the best and the closest to the galego lime found in Brazil. Otherwise, regular limes will do.
This is the real thing, using cachaca and the mortar and pestle technique, which adds some of the rind flavor. Be carreful not to overpress the lime slices, as you may get some of the pith bitter taste. For best results, do the professional way - like bartenders in Brazil do - mash all ingredients but ice together, add it to a shaker with the ice and shake well until a chilled concoction is reached with the perfect balance of the sweetness of the sugar, the sourness of the lime and the pungency of cachaca. Cachaca makes the real caipirinha and it is the best in my opinion, however other spirits are used in Brazil - like vodka (then it is called Caipiroska) or rum (for Caipirissima). In south of the country, where the Japanese influence is strong, there is also Caipirinha made out of sake - a light and pleasant combination - frequently combined with kiwi and other fruits.
no need to crush the ice but you have to crush the lemons (flesh-side only) with the sugar. If you crush the peeel side, it will give a bitter taste. No brown sugar- ever!And, of course, the true caipirinha is made only with limes. Now here in Rio, we find pinneaple and fruit passion caipirinhas but it is a novelty.
Bozeman is right, ice should be smashed in order to dissolve better the sugar. As for lime, you can you key kime, lime or even other fruits - citric ones but NOT oranges ever. As for brown sugar, forget it, I have never seen one made with this ingredient, it seems very foreign to the whole caipirinha " thing".
In Germany, "Caipis" are on every cocktail. For a perfect Caipi, quarter and pound one lime, add 1 tablepoon hard BROWN sugar, 4 cl. Cachaca, and ice to the top of the glass. Be sure to serve it with a straw as the sugar will settle to the bottom of the glass!
dave catania, please post if you get a response from the editors, or not. thanks.
Caipirinhas are, without a doubt, the best drink ever invented. This recipe, however, sacrifices some of the authenticity if this brazilian masterpiece. I lived in northeast brazil, and never saw a caipirinha made with anything but key limes. Also, it's not a drink to be made daintily. The street vendors who sell these (for about 25 cents) put some serious effort into smashing the ice and mixing the lime and sugar. Iɽ recommend more sugar, more lime, and probably more cachaca than the recipe calls for.
To assemble: Add the lime wedges and sugar to your glass, and muddle until the sugar is nearly dissolved into the lime juice. Now add the cacha and stir. Add ice to fill your glass, stir again, and finish it off with a lime wedge garnish. Drink up, because now we&aposre making a second version.
Let&aposs not sugarcoat this (aside from the 2 teaspoons we put in the previous drink): The caipirinha is a very strong, very sweet drink. If it&aposs a little too much for you, we&aposve got a less-intense version for you to try.
(9 votes, average: 4.89 out of 5)
- Author: Sonja Overhiser
- Prep Time: 5 minutes
- Cook Time: 0 minutes
- Total Time: 5 minutes
- Yield: 1 drink 1 x
- Diet: Vegan
The Caipirinha is Brazil’s national drink and uniquely refreshing! This cocktail made with cachaça and lime is truly one of a kind.
- Add the lime wedges and sugar to a cocktail shaker and muddle (gently mash) to release the juices.
- Add the cachaça and fill the shaker with ice. Shake until cold.
- Strain the drink into an ice-filled lowball glass. Garnish with lime wedges.
Keywords: Caipirinha, Caipirinha recipe
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Chances are high you encountered Brazil’s national drink, the Caipirinha, if you’ve traveled to the South American country. Refreshing and easy to make, the cocktail contains fresh lime juice, sugar and cachaça—a spirit as central to Brazilian identity as samba, soccer and carnival. Cachaça is also the country’s national spirit, inextricably tying this drink to its home.
First made in the 1500s, cachaça is similar to rum, but it has a flavor all its own. Most rums are distilled from molasses, a byproduct of sugarcane processing, while cachaça is distilled from the fermented juice of sugar cane. This important difference yields a distinct spirit that is characterized by its funky, grassy flavors, which set the Caipirinha apart from other sweet-and-sour cocktails like the Daiquiri.
It’s unclear exactly when the Caipirinha first appeared, but many historians believe it was served in the early 20th century as a remedy for illness. Others say it was invented in the 19th century by Brazilian farmers as a way to showcase local sugarcane. Regardless of how or when it was born, drinkers have gravitated toward its pleasing flavors and heady effects ever since.
The Caipirinha is easy to make and can be constructed right in the glass, but its build instructions are exacting. Lime juice and simple syrup won’t get the job done: The drink specifically calls for lime wedges and finely granulated sugar. Muddling the limes with abrasive sugar helps to release not only the fruit’s juice, but also the rich, aromatic oils from the peel.
The classic Caipirinha is not a cocktail that requires improvement—it’s delicious as is. But that’s never kept bartenders from experimenting and tweaking the original recipe. The most common variation is the Caipiroska, which is simply made with vodka in place of cachaça. Other variations call for muddling fruits like raspberry or pineapple with the lime. Whichever route you go, the Caipirinha is refreshing and flavorful, with a unique ability to bring you straight to the tropics, no matter where you’re drinking.
Oh, yeah! There are many variations of this drink as follows:
- Caipifruta – made of cachaça, crushed fresh fruits, sugar, and crushed ice. The usual fruits used are kiwi, passion fruit, lemon, grapes, mango, cajá, cashew fruit, açaí, and strawberry caipirinha .
- Caipisake – it takes sake instead of cachaça. Berries or kiwi are the most used.
- Caipiroska or Caipivodka – made with vodka instead of cachaça.
- Caipiríssima – prepared with rum instead of cachaça.
- Caipirão – made using a liqueur from Portugal, Licor Beirão, instead of cachaça.
- CaipirItaly – Campari, from Italy, subs cachaça.
- Caipinheger – made using Steinhager.
Because I do not drink, mine is made with crushed fruit(s), sugar substitute, crushed ice, and sparkling water. It is the light and virgin version of the drink.
While I'm sure it changes the flavor somewhat, you can substitute the sugar for a liquid type of "aspertame". Better for us diabetic types.
I think this drink acutally gets better near the end because the lime flavor gets intense (note: never stop stirring).
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My favorite cachaca is LEBLON.
For information on creating mixed drink recipes, bartending information, and measurements for alcoholic drinks, visit our Bartender Guide.
The Caipirinha is Brazil’s national cocktail. Prized for its bright, complex flavor, the drink is enjoyed all over the country and, increasingly, all over the world. Its popularity has spurred numerous variations, as barkeeps tweak the classic drink by adding fruits and liqueurs or subbing in different base spirits.
That’s the case with the Caipiroska. This simple take on the Caipirinha eschews the traditional cachaça in favor of vodka. The former is Brazil’s national spirit. Similar to rum, cahcaça is distilled from the fermented juice of sugar cane and characterized by its funky, grassy flavor. Vodka, on the other hand, sports a lighter, straightforward profile that yields a lighter-tasting cocktail.
For the best results, legendary bartender and author Tony Abou-Ganim suggests making the fresh, citrusy Caipiroska with “a clean, neutral vodka with fruity, floral notes—something made from corn, wheat or mixed grain, something gentle.”
The Caipiroska isn’t an obscure variation or merely a training-wheels version of the Caipirinha it has gained traction in Brazil and neighboring South American countries, as more vodka brands enter the market and locals embrace the spirit.
The prescribed build for the Caipiroska is precise and worth following. Muddle the limes with the sugar to extract the oils from the lime peels, and you’ll enjoy a richer, tastier drink.