The Caipirinha is the national drink of Brazil, made from the locally distilled Cachaça. This spirit differs from rum in that rum is made by fermenting other sugar by-products like molasses, while Cachaça is derived solely from fresh sugar cane juice.
The drink is thought to have originated in Portugal, where it contained honey and garlic and was prescribed as a treatment for the Spanish flu. Once domiciled in Brazil, the Caipirinha dropped its medicinal ingredients, added lime and a bit of sweetener, and became the nation’s most popular cocktail. It is now recognized by the International Bartenders Association as a Contemporary Classic.
The name “Caipirinha” is reserved for the drink containing lime juice, but several other fruits are used to mix the equally popular “Caipifruta”. This is the name given to any drink that combine Cachaça with fruit juice. Fresh kiwi, passionfruit, mango and pineapple are all popular mixers.
The drink has become better known outside of its native Brazil as brands of Cachaça become more readily available internationally. It is traditionally made in a large container to be shared by several drinkers, and makes a great alternative to whatever you usually put in your punch bowl.
Here’s how to make a Caipirinha Drink:
- 60ml Cachaça (Brazilian Rum)
- 1 Lime
- 2 tsp Brown Sugar
- Wedge of lime to garnish
- Cut the lime into small wedges and place in the bottom of an empty cocktail shaker
- Add the sugar
- Muddle the ingredients with a muddler (or small wooden spoon) until the sugar has blended with the lime juice
- Add the Cachaça
- Shake gently until most of the sugar has dissolved
- Strain the contents of the shaker into an old-fashioned glass filled with ice
- Garnish with a wedge of lime
- Cocktail shaker
- Old-fashioned glass