Caipirinha

caipirinha

3 oz. cachaça
1/2 lime (large)
1 Tbsp. sugar

Cut lime into quarters
Place in bottom of 6 – 8 oz. glass with sugar and muddle well.
Fill with crushed ice, followed by cachaça. Stir.

Cachaça is very much its own beverage — distilled from fermented fresh sugar cane juice, it’s related to rum, but often called a brandy. There is a wide range of qualities — in Brazil, cachaça has historically been a proletarian drink, but a premium market is the rise. Perhaps the most commonly available brand in the US is Pirassununga Cachaça 51, a middle-of-the-road industrially produced cachaça. I wouldn’t care to drink it neat, but it has a peppery, tequila-like quality that makes Brazil’s gift to cocktails, the caipirinha, more like a margarita than its rummy relative, the daiquiri.

Caipirinhas are quite the trendy tipple these days, and they’re fast becoming a favorite of mine as well. Citric, icy-cold and spicy-sweet, they’re not particularly suited to drizzly 50°F March evenings, but I’ll be laying in a respectable supply of cachaça and limes come summertime. There’s a fairly broad variation in recipes … most call for a whole lime, which I find excessive if you’re using large, lemon-sized fruit. The volumes of sugar, cachaça and ice vary as well. The inference one should draw from this is that cachaça is delicious when served on the rocks with lime and sugar.

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2 Responses to “Caipirinha”

  1. abby says:

    Like a margarita with more sophistication… but drinkin’ it in the damp Portland spring is not the way to go — I’m looking forward to summer!

  2. c says:

    Over at The Spirit World, Robert Hess notes that today, June 12th, in 1744, the Portuguese colonial masters outlawed the production of cachaça throughout Brazil. The bastards.

    Fortunately, they seem to have rescinded that one.