A few years ago I was introduced to the Caipirinha (pronounced kai-pee-reen-ya), the famous drink from Brazil, by a neighbor who coincidentally happened to be from Brazil. It’s a delicious cocktail made with Cachaça (pronounced ka-shah-suh), an alcohol produced by fermenting sugarcane juice and then distilling it. I bet you didn’t know that tomorrow is International Cachaça day did you? Well it is so I thought it’s only appropriate to make a this Caipirinha for you today to celebrate.
The Caipirinha is very much like the original daiquiri which is just rum, sugar and lime, not the blended strawberry concoction most people think of when they hear the word daiquiri. In this cocktail, the Caipirinha replaces rum with Cachaça, which is similar to rum but different (I guess you could say they’re kind of like cousins). The only brand of Cachaça I’ve tasted is 51 and I think it’s probably not one you’d want to sip straight up. It’s a bit harsh. However, the lime and sugar balance out the potent Cachaça and softens it to a deliciously sipable (I know that’s not a word but it should be) drink, perfect for a warm summer day.
There’s a couple ways to make a Caipirinha. I believe the authentic way is to put lime wedges and sugar in a rocks glass and muddle them together. Add ice, then add the Cachaça. Now you have two choices. You can stir the drink to combine everything or put another glass over the top and shake to combine, then pour it all back into the rocks glass. Or, if you want to make it simple, do as I do and go ahead and just make it in a cocktail shaker, then pour it into a rocks glass. Might not be the authentic way to do it, but it works just fine for me!
Oh, and did I mention they’re pretty darn strong and go down easily? Be careful and drink responsibly!