I'm an avid foodie, and maintain three foodie blogs about cooking for families, make-ahead meals, and international cookie recipes.
I lived in Miami for five years and never could develop a taste for the mojitos that were served everywhere. One night, I was dining at a fabulous Brazilian churrascaria and was served my very first caipirinha. I was hooked.
The caipirinha, designated the National Cocktail of Brazil, has simple ingredients: Limes, cachaca, superfine sugar, and crushed ice. I've seen other fruits substituted, such as strawberries and cherries, but to me, the real thing is a lime caipirinha.
Cachaca, also known as "aguardiente," is the most popular distilled spirit in Brazil, and most of the cachaca on the market is produced there. Many people think of cachaca as being similar to rum. Rum, however, is mostly produced using molasses, where cachaca is produced using straight cane juice.
If you cannot find cachaca or aguardiente, you can try substituting it for rum, but the final product will not be the same. You can also substitute vodka. A caipirinha made with vodka is called a "caipiroska." It's still nowhere in the same league. Find yourself some cachaca for your caipirinha. You'll be glad that you did.
- Superfine sugar
- Crushed ice
- A lowball, rocks, or Old-Fashioned glass
- A pestle (from a mortar and pestle -- or something similar) for the muddling
- Cut the ends off of the lime and discard.
- Cut the lime in half lengthwise and cut out the white pith in the middle.
- Cut the lime in half, and cut one half of the lime into four wedges and place in the glass. If your lime is small, you will need to add more lime to the glass.
- Add one to three tablespoons of sugar. The amount of sugar depends on your personal taste as well as the size of the lime you are using.
- Use the pestle to "muddle" the limes and sugar together. Basically, you want to crush the limes so that they mix in well with the sugar. Be careful not to break the skin of the lime. When you've gotten all of the juice out of the lime, you're done.
- Pack crushed ice in the glass all the way to the top.
- Add cachaca all the way to the top of the glass. (It's really only about 2 oz.)
- Use a larger glass or bottom of a cocktail shaker and put it over the top of your drink. Pick up with two hands and shake very well for at least 15 seconds.
- Garnish with a wedge or slice of lime.
Lena Durante from San Francisco Bay Area on May 02, 2017:
The photos look so appealing and refreshing on this hot pre-summer day! Is it 5 o'clock yet?
mae-2012 on March 25, 2012:
A refreshing and satisfying drink is what I think it is! Thanks for posting this!
Brazo! on January 04, 2011:
Try Oronoco Cachaca. It's awesome.
lrohner (author) from USA on December 23, 2010:
Thanks Kam! I've watched many, many Brazilian bartenders make these for me when I lived in Miami. I have to say, it is still my favorite drink!
kam on December 23, 2010:
Some bartenders in the US use brown sugar - that is a no, no. It messes up the taste of the drink.
kam on December 23, 2010:
You have the directions exactly correct.
In fact better than the Leblon video that forgets to tell you to cut the ends off the lime and the pulp out.
I do recommend Leblon - but it is interesting as it is nearly impossible to find in the restaurants in Rio of Sao Paulo and is overpriced at the airports in Brazil.
In the US the fine sugar recommended by lrohner is not powered sugar but baking sugar.
The easiest Cachaca to find in Brazil is Ypioca Cachaca Prata. I like the "prata' (clear or silver) Cachaca rather than the 'oura' (gold or brownish).
My relatives in Rio would disown me if I used 'bar syrup' but each to their own.
Ron is right about 'Pitu'. It is Cachaca for those that don't wand to spend a lot - aboui $R3.50 of US$2.00 per bottle.
Again, lrohner, has the recipe down very well.
jon on November 10, 2010:
One of the finer drinks out there, no question. Two suggestions for experimentation:
1. If available, try using Guaro instead of Cachaca - I got my caipirinaha introduction in Costa Rica and that's the liquor of choice there. It's a very raw sugar cane distillate.
2. Make up some bar syrup by heating a cup of sugar in a cup of water until the sugar dissolves and use that instead of powdered sugar. (syrup keeps for a month or so in the fridge).
Ron on October 09, 2010:
I've tried a few caipirinahas now - and I do love the passion fruit and strawberry ones the best! I also tried some of the differenct cacachas and i like the leblon best - it makes a big difference to me. there is one with a shrimp on a black label that you should avoid
lrohner (author) from USA on September 26, 2010:
lronracer--I don't know, but it could just be unrefined or "natural" sugar. They sell it here as a brand called "Sugar in the Raw." Glad you enjoyed the hub!
Ironracer from St. Louis, MO on September 26, 2010:
Nice recipe! I love Caipis! The Cachaca is the key. A lot of places don't use this. Also, I noticed my favorite caipi has a brownish tint sugar in it. You know what that is? It's not brown, like brown sugar - just not white. Cheers.
Marina on August 16, 2010:
In Bulgaria on the beach, there is a fine bar where you can get a very very nice Caipirinha! I love it :)
Gui on April 12, 2010:
realmente you know how! congatulations this is the real recipe.
lrohner (author) from USA on July 08, 2009:
I think you need to write a few hubs on Brazil, Gypsy!
Gypsy Willow from Lake Tahoe Nevada USA , Wales UK and Taupo New Zealand on July 06, 2009:
This reminds me of my journeys to wonderful Brazil. What an amazing country and not a bad drink either!