The Caipirinha – New Favorite Summer Drink

The Caipirinha is my new favorite summer drink, replacing my old standby, a gin and tonic.

Wikipedia defines it thus:

Caipirinha (Portuguese pronunciation: [kajpiˈɾiɲɐ]) is Brazil’s national cocktail, made with cachaça (pronounced [kaˈʃasɐ]) (sugar cane rum), sugar and lime. Cachaça is Brazil’s most common distilled alcoholic beverage. While both rum and cachaça are made from sugarcane-derived products, most rum is made from molasses. Specifically with cachaça, the alcohol results from the fermentation of sugarcane juice that is afterwards distilled.

I made it for the first time for a small Rapture party, though I’ve had a caipirinha a couple of times at restaurants. A Flickr pal posted instructions on making this drink a few years ago, I loosely followed his instructions. His photos are better, so take a look if you need additional instructions.

I can see why they are such popular cocktails – fairly easy to make, very thirst quenching, and also easy to imbibe. Also easy to slurp down several before you realize it, so be careful. Luckily I have an Irish, green liver, and don’t feel any ill effects this morning.

Finally Bought a Bottle of Cachaça

The Cachaça itself: Velho Barreiro brand, which is briefly barrel aged.1 I bought it at Whole Foods of all places, but any liquor store worth visiting will have several varieties to choose from.

Limes, sliced

I took one lime, washed it, cut off the ends, and quartered it, twice. The juiciest lime will work the best of course, so don’t get those pale excuses for limes that litter produce sections.

Limes, Muddled with sugar

In a big and sturdy enough container, I added two sugar cubes to the lime bits, and muddled2 thoroughly. If I make caipirinhas on a regular basis, I might need a longer muddler, the one I own is a little too short to work well in my martini shaker. I ended up using the above pictured pyrex dish.

Crushed Ice For A Caipirinha

Threw a few ice cubes in the blender, and crushed them up.


Add about 2 oz of  Cachaça to your blend, drop in the glass, stir (I guess you could do all this in your martini shaker too, I was still figuring out proper portions, so used the glass as the final arbiter)

Caipirinha is too quickly gone

Drink! And repeat until you are doing the samba, bossa nova, or even the forró…

Postscript: I tried making a drink sans the sugar cubes, and while it was drinkable, it wasn’t as good. Cachaça is pretty strong, and the limes weren’t potent enough a mixer by themselves. But two sugar cubes3 are 20 calories worth of sugar, not a whole lot.

  1. I’d link to Velho Barreiro’s web site, but it seems to be only Adobe Flash files, with auto-playing music that can’t be turned off. So, no. []
  2. mashed, but with a muddler. I have one made by OXO, but there are other kinds []
  3. or if you get fancy, homemade powdered sugar – don’t use regular powdered sugar because it has additives like cornstarch – instead take some regular pure sugar and grind it up in  coffee grinder or similar []

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