With medicinal roots and a vibrant taste, the Caipirinha is one of the most interesting cocktail recipes around. This is the kind of drink you mix up when you want to feel invigorated.
While cocktails aren’t usually associated with medicine, the Caipirinha cocktail goes against the grain with a therapeutic history. Firstly, the origin of this Brazilian cocktail isn’t fully known; its name roughly translates to “little countryside drink,” which gives us a small crumb as to its origin.
One of the most popular theories floating around is that the original recipe was a means to help patients recover from common illnesses after World War I. Considering the original recipe calls for garlic and honey, it’s not hard to connect the dots! Garlic is known to reduce blood pressure, while honey is known for antibacterial benefits. Another popular theory is that it was used to prevent scurvy – hence the addition of lime, which, as a citrus high in Vitamin C, is essential to preventing the disease.
Wherever this fascinating cocktail came from, it’s the kind of drink that puts a pep in your step. This drink is the national cocktail of Brazil and is impossible to miss, even if you’ve never visited the country yourself.
Fans of the Pisco Sour or the classic Mojito can’t afford to skip this simple, yet punchy recipe. Its combination of brisk acidity and sugary sweetness is just the thing to wake you up (or put you back to sleep, depending on how many you have).
What is Cachaça?
Cachaça is a Brazilian spirit, distilled from fermented sugarcane juice with a powerful flavor. It has a sweet yet strong taste reminiscent of rum, but with a distinct flavor of raw sugarcane. It is regarded as the national drink of Brazil and is primarily used in making the famous Caipirinha.
- Rocks glass (or Old-Fashioned glass)
- Muddler (for crushing the lime wedges and sugar together)
- Spoon (the longer handle makes it easy to stir in a taller glass)
- 1 to 2 tablespoons of fine granulated sugar
- 2 ounces of cachaça also known as a Brazillian sugarcane liquor
- Half a lime cut into wedges
- In a glass, add the lime wedges and sprinkle the sugar on top. You can adjust the amount of sugar to your taste, but usually 1 to 2 tablespoons should do.
- With a muddler or the back of a spoon, muddle the sugar and lime together. You want to press the limes to release their juice but also to infuse the sugar with the essential oils from the lime peel.
- Add 2 ounces of cachaça, which is a Brazilian liquor made from sugarcane. You can find cachaça in most liquor stores or even order it online.
- Mix the ingredients and fill the glass with crushed ice. Stir your cocktail until it’s well mixed.
Top Tips For a Perfect Caipirinha
- Use fresh lime! While one of those pre-processed lime juice bottles will still do the trick, there’s an extra kick to fresh fruit that’s unmistakable.
- Experiment with the sugar count. Since cachaça is made from sugarcane and the recipe also calls for sugar, try different amounts to get your favorite balance of sweet and tart.
- Add slices of lime on the rim or inside the drink. One of my favorite additions to a cocktail is a fruit that soaks up the drink so you can bite into it and get extra flavor!
Armed with these insider tips and tricks, you’ll be on your way to make the perfect Caipirinha every time. Cheers!
Caipirinha Variations Worth Trying
- Caipiroska: This recipe has the same general ingredients, but swap out the cachaça for vodka. This variation tastes a little less sweet than the original.
- Caipisake (or Sakerinha): This recipe also has the same general ingredients, but uses sake instead of cachaça. Expect an extra buttery mouthfeel with this version.
- Caipinheger: Last but not least, this version swaps in Steinhager (a type of German gin) for the cachaça. You’ll get a hint of piney flavors and aromatics here.