Introduction: Recipe for a Caipirinha Cocktail - the Famous Cachaca Drink From Brazil

Picture of Recipe for a Caipirinha Cocktail - the Famous Cachaca Drink From Brazil

My version of the Caipirinha cocktail: delightfully refreshing and powerfully alcoholic drink based on cachaca.

Step 1: Some Information, Ingredient List and Required Tools

Picture of Some Information, Ingredient List and Required Tools
Caipirinha (k-eye-per-reen-yah) is the name of the drink: Cachaca (kashasah) is the name of the alcoholic spirit/liquor used in the drink. Cachaca is a Brazilian distilled liquor that starts from unaldulterated sugarcane juice (unlike rum, which is made from what is left over after the main sugar removal process).

In Ontario, Canada I have only seen the Pitu brand of cachaca available.

This version of the Caipirinha uses limes. (The only other fruit I have made it with is lemons - so far). I am indebted to Markus in Germany who introduced me to this wonderful cocktail.

You will need:
  • a jigger for measuring (I cannot be held responsible for anyone "free handing")
  • cachaca
  • lime(s)
  • teaspoon measure
  • coarse sugar
  • ice cubes
  • muddler, aka pestle aka "mashing stick"
  • short, wide glass(es) (Old Fashioned type)
  • sharp knife and cutting board
  • short straw(s)

Step 2: Rinse and Dry the Limes

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Start by rinsing and drying the lime(s). (I'm not usually drinking alone so I wash several.)[[BR]]
Since you do not remove the rinds from the drink, the skin should be clean - at least peel the fruit stickers off![[BR]]
(BTW, I'm taking the photographs while Mrs. Caipirinha does the actual work here.)

Step 3: Remove Some of the Rind

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Remove the thicker rind top and bottom ends and any unsightly blemishes.

Step 4: Pith Removal

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Half the limes with a knife and cut a "V" groove to remove the center pithy part from each half. (You don't want her/him to complain their drink is full of pith!)

Step 5: Cut Into Small Pieces

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Slice each lime half into 8 pieces

Step 6: Place Pieces in Glass

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Depending on the size of the lime, its juiciness and your serving size, place 1/2 to all of the lime into a short, wide glass. I don't recommend a tall tumbler since you are going to "get a little rough" with the lime pieces soon and need room to mash.

Step 7: Add Coarse Sugar

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Add 3 teaspoons of coarse sugar. Here I usually use 1 teaspoon of coarse (to aid grinding the limes) and 2 teaspoons of ordinary granular sugar (to hasten dissolving/sweetening - plus I'm cheap).

Step 8: Muddle (what a Great Word!)

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Muddle, grind, pulverize, mash those lime pieces right in the glass with a "mashing stick". During the early days I used a "wooden thing in the drawer" that turned out to be a tart shell pastry shaper. Now, thanks to my daughter who returned from Germany with an official Pitu brand muddler, I can mash and muddle with the best of them. This wooden device has a nice handle and knurled bottom face.[[BR]]
What you find to mash with is obviously up to you but the purpose is to get the juice out of the lime pieces and at the same time release some of the sour citrus oil from the rind. Leave it all in the glass.

Step 9: Crushed Ice

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Now you'll need finely crushed ice. For those schmucks that don't have an automatic machine (like me), here's what I find efficient: a thick plastic bag and a hammer.[[BR]]
Place 4 large ice cubes into a thick plastic bag. In Ontario, our milk comes in bags perfectly sized for this. Let the air out of the bag and on a flat surface, whack the ice/bag with a hammer to get very small ice pieces/water. The hammer held by the young lady is a meat tenderizer and the flat side works great.

Step 10: Add Ice to the Glass

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Now simply pick up the bag and pour ice contents into the glass. You can avoid dumping half the ice on the counter by holding the bag's open end to form a smaller exit hole and shake the closed end.

Step 11: Add More Sugar and the Cachaça

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Add a final teaspoon of coarse sugar and pour 1 to 2 ounces of cachaça over the ice

Step 12: Add a Straw and Stir

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Serve with a short straw (bendy type or whatever you have, but a straw is important).[[BR]]

Now sip on that. Mmmmmm... You get the semi-sour drink along with crunchy sugar. Try to sip slowly!

Step 13: The Environmentally Friendly Drink!

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When you get to the bottom and begin making disgusting slurp noises, remove the straw and tip the glass up to get every last drop, toss the lime remnants into the composter and repeat!

Step 14: Cheers!

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There are some who will balk at the complexity/time of preparation. To those I would say stick to your mass produced, artificially coloured and flavoured liquids where you simply "snap a cap". This drink is about standing around the kitchen, yacking, savouring its taste and is sibling to the "Slow Food" movement.

Warning: This drink is "stealthy". Think about it: sour, unconcentrated lime juice hides the alcohol taste, the sweet (and crunchy!) sugar also hides the alcohol taste and finally super-cooling with finely crushed ice tends to hide the alcohol taste. Use responsibly between consenting adults. The Caipirinha is in a class of drinks called a "leg spreader" - because it makes you really relaxed - and you go all limp - I guess.

I welcome your comments, variation descriptions and experimental suggestions.

OH!... and much thanks to Mrs. Caipirinha for the outstanding work she did.


tazmo8448 made it! (author)2016-06-30

0nly had some Pitu [same as the brand you show] at the local grab. I have read about this drink an decided to give it a go. It is 'tart', but not too much to make it a deal breaker. The only 'raw' sugar I could find locally was a coarse grain Turbinado Cane Sugar and of course the garden variety limes. On the net have found where folks use lemons but don't think that lemons are the 'real deal'...any way thanks for the recipe and photos.

MarilynA9 (author)2016-03-29

so a caipriniha can be made w/any fruit or liquor, and still be called a caipriniha unlike a marguerita has to have tequila, or some drinks have to have an authentic Martini, unless it is a vodka martini, a Harvey Wallbanger is orange juice and Galiano... made with vodka it is a screwdriver.... or a brandy alexander should use brandy... or those drinks made w/rum that have different names depending on the mixers.... what is in a name..... as once stated "a rose by any other name is still a rose"

No, it must be made from cachaca. For example, when made with vodka it is called a "Caipiroska". I think any sour citrus can make up the fruit part though and there is always a discussion of what a lemon or lime actually describes and it depends on the country you are in.

denotsKO (author)2015-01-01

I haven't had a chance to make the drink yet but wanted to say thanks. That is an outstanding shirt to instructable in.

luci.chianti (author)2014-11-25

I am doing New Years Eve. When trying this in Portugal it was made in a large jug and then poured. The lady in this article is well qualified to make this. Beware, the Brazilians drink this at carnival, We ended up skinny dipping in our villa, inhibitions are lowered, looking forward to New Years eve.

rosenilson.saraiva (author)2014-11-18

Helo my dear !!
I am brazilan and speak a little english, but, i want help you , about the caipirinha, any fruit cítrica is poossible to make a caipirinha ok???
thanks my dears.

cf. fernandes (author)2014-07-19

Although this traditional caipirinha recipe is pretty delicious and I do try it all the time, sometimes I get tired of lime. I have been mixing a lot of different variations of caipirinha lately. Using different liquors like vodka and even sake. I've also been testing out different types of fruits. I've found some nice recipes here:

I'm still looking for a good cachaça brand though, since pitu and 51 are really considered low grade in Brazil.

Faddyy (author)2012-08-25

First drink happiness,second dancing samba,third speak portuguese,fourth dancing samba without music,fifth u come back to neighbours home...cachaca is a perfect apperitif

susanchen2011 (author)2012-07-03

It is cool in summer.

Lalo Martins (author)2009-10-31

1: Grinding is intended and the point of the muddling. Some people prefer it without grinding, but the original recipe calls for grinding (therefore coarse sugar).

2: Please, please, in the name of Dionysus, it's lemon, not lime. Stop spreading this misconception :-) it's born of mistranslation and ignorance. The proper taste comes from chemical reaction between the citric acid and the sugar, and limes just don't have enough acid for that to happen (which is why many people don't see the point of muddling).

Don't get me wrong, lime "caipirinha" is a tasty drink, and so is caipirissima, caipiroska, and many other variations; but they're not "real" caipirinha, just similar drinks.

lnorman1 (author)Lalo Martins2012-01-12

I am really confused by you guys' exchange. You say that it isn't limes, but lemons, and then you say that it is actually persian limes...
Persian limes are the most common fruit sold as limes in North America, with key limes coming in second. It looks to me like that is a persian lime on the cutting board of the picture. Am I missing something?

glacombe1 (author)Lalo Martins2011-09-11

Lime is Limão in english. Lemon is Lima in portuguese. This confusion is common. Lime is green, lemon is yellow. Limão é verde e lima é amarela...

Lalo Martins (author)glacombe12011-09-12

Lime is lima in English. Lemon is limão in Portuguese. Your confusion is common. The source of the confusion is one single specific species, the Persian Lime, which in Portuguese is called a limão. Every other species of lime is called lima in Portuguese, every other species of limão is called lemon in English. Please do some research before spreading misconceptions.

glacombe1 (author)Lalo Martins2011-09-12

Lalo, may be in Portugal, but in Brasil, Persian Lime is known in Brasil as Lima da Pérsia, Limão is green in Brasil and in english the green fruit is called lime. Please, look at my blog where you will see several videos from Youtube where people name those fruits accordingly. Thanks for noting that in other portuguese speaking places there can be differences.

Lalo Martins (author)glacombe12011-09-12

I'm Brazilian, I've never set foot in Portugal. Persian lime is known in Brazil as limão taiti. I've never heard of “lima da Pérsia”. The fact that you have a blog doesn't mean you have facts... again, please do some research before you spread misconceptions.

Also, I've said it twice already and you're ignoring it: every other species of lime is called lima. Every known species of lemon is called limão. Every other species of limão is called lemon. Every known species of lima is called lime.

glacombe1 (author)Lalo Martins2011-09-13

Espero que tenha gostado do meu comentário colocado abaixo onde consegui tirar suas dúvidas sobre as diferenças entre lima da persia, limão taití, e lima. Um abraço!

Lalo Martins (author)glacombe12011-09-13

Não vejo comentário abaixo, e eu não tenho dúvida nenhuma pra tirar, não sei de onde você tirou essa “informação” toda...

Bruno153 (author)Lalo Martins2011-12-27

Na verdade também é conhecido por limão siciliano... Nomes populares... quem sabe
It's also known as sicilian lemon... Popular names... who knows...

gantun (author)Lalo Martins2011-03-21

Actually man, The lemons make the drink wayy too bitter. The best way to do it would be to peel off a lime, then slice it and crush it with a pestle. And the real one uses limes, but in brazil, we call them "Limão" and what you guys call lemons we call "Lima".

Lalo Martins (author)gantun2011-03-21

The lemons make the drink as bitter as it's supposed to be, since the drink is made with lemons and not limes. If it's too bitter, you're not using the right amount of sugar, or cachaça, or not doing it correctly.

The story of “limão” being limes and vice-versa is a misunderstanding that I'd like to see dead. There are many kinds of “limão” which are used for cachaça, and most of them are lemons. The most common one, the “limão taiti”, is known in English as a “persian lime”; if you can find that where you live, absolutely go for it. But open it up and taste it; it tastes like a lemon, not like a (key) lime. The most common kind of lime is the key lime, and that's called a “lima” in Brazil. In fact, there's no kind of “lima” that is called a lemon in English; they're all limes. The only kind where there is any confusion is the taiti/persian lime, and that's not usually found in the Northern hemisphere apart from the Middle East.

tl;dr: no, “limão” is not lime, not in general. The right ingredient is, in order of tasting best to worse: persian lime, lemon (any kind), lime (not persian).

glacombe1 (author)Lalo Martins2011-09-12

Lalo, you are correct, limão is not lime. But my point is to make sure people do not mistake lime and lemon, as in portuguese we use lime (Citrus latifolia (yu. tanaka) tanaka ) to make caipirinhas. And we usually use the word lima to name Citrus xlimon that is called lemon in english.
check these links:
Citrus xlimon (lima)

Citrus latifolia (yu. tanaka) tanaka (limão taití)

Citrus aurantifolia (lima da pérsia)

Mongpoovian (author)2009-03-24

I absolutely love this drink, thanks for posting the instructions. :) I was also introduced to it in Germany!

glacombe1 (author)Mongpoovian2011-09-13

You can look at to check for several recipes and variations on this drink. I hope you enjoy!

jkeller16 (author)2008-05-08

I wanted to pass along some information that first time caipirinha makers might find helpful.

I also noticed requests to make caipirinhas for "the masses". Below the instructional video there is a recipe for various size pitchers.

I hope that you find this link helpfulThe Perfect Caipirinha which was created by Leblon Cachaca

glacombe1 (author)jkeller162011-09-13

If you want a lot of caipirinha recipes please, take a look at: this is a video colection of caipirinha recipes with several variations!

OhTheBether (author)2008-07-24

Yum... Thanks for the instructions, I want to make this and this a great tutorial! Have you tried it with brown sugar? That's the only way I've had it, and it is delicious.

usignola (author)OhTheBether2009-07-25

Great idea! I was thinking of whether this would turn out OK with regular old granulated sugar (since I don't have the rough stuff right now, and live in Belgium, and am not sure how easy sugar-in-the-raw would be to get in a Belgian supermarket), but using brown is a fascinating alternative. Thanks! :)

OhTheBether (author)usignola2009-07-25

If you still want to use coarse sugar, it is also called turbinado sugar.

glacombe1 (author)OhTheBether2011-09-13

In several places in Brazil caipirinha is made with brown sugar. But not the very raw one but the one we call demerara sugar. The taste matches with the cachaça very well.

glacombe1 (author)2011-09-11

Very good recipe. Very complete and correct. I have a blog with a collection of videos in Youtube that teaches how to prepare a caipirinha or a variation on a caipirinha. You will find there that despite there is this standard as teached in this post above, there are several nice variations. I hope you check my blog and enjoy! Not only the serious recipes but also the crazy ones.

jobard (author)2011-09-01

Where are the lemons?

gantun (author)2011-03-21

Caipirinha can be made with Cachaça,Pinga, Aguardente, Vodka, Sake or Rum. I've done them with limes(lemons don't taste so good), Pineapples, Kiwii, Strawberries, Watermelons and, my favourite, Tropical mix(every juicy fruit you may happen to have in your fridge). Cheers from São Paulo-Brasil

ecinox (author)2009-09-02

hummm delicius

duneman101 (author)2009-04-21

Great instructable sounds like a great adult beverage, i will be face first on the floor this weekend because of these i am sure. Props for the cleav shots, your mrs. is a real looker.

incorrigible packrat (author)2008-02-19

I've been keen to try cachaca since seeing it on Thirsty Traveler. I find this recipe even more motivating, for some reason(s)... @@ There goeth more of my hard-earned paycheque to the L.C.B.O. Maybe I should just work there. Perhaps they have employee discounts...

Certainly having a couple of drinking 'buddies' along makes any imbibing session much more enjoyable than a solitary pursuit. Sneaking up on a quarter century of marital bliss. Cheers.

Congratulations. How long have you been drinking caipirinhas? I'm curious about whether the type of beverage has any effect on the enjoyability of the imbibing session. Mrs. packrat, a drinker of wine most of the time, seems to just get mildly abusive, then falls asleep. I've ordered a bottle of Pitu, and will conduct a highly scientific study...

PetervG (author)2007-01-24

I recommend less cleavage.

raccoon (author)PetervG2007-01-26

Cleavage (among other things) paid my way through college, and has helped me pay for a few cars. The amount of cleavage featured here is just right. I have not been able to find Cachaca or a trendy muddle (or is it muddler?). But I made this drink with both white rum and white tequilla and both turned out just fine, although I went with a little less sugar. I do most of my muddling with a miniture Louisville Slugger souvenir bat (I have a few, but usually use my Rico Carty autographed version, on which I've filed a few criss-cross slits into the handle end for extra crushing prowess) and it works very well for virtually all muddling tasks. I use this same device for crushing mint when I make mint juleps. Where does one find Cachaca?

humberto ribas (author)raccoon2008-01-06

Check for just some of the ways of calling it. And as for finding it, should you ever come to Brazil, you'll find it just around EVERY corner. Just in my state, Minas Gerais (where the most famous ones come from) there are over 1.000 brands. Can you afford it? Well, try Germana, by far the best, the problem is it can cost from US$60 to US$100 a bottle, but believe you me, it flies you to heaven (it can also fly you to deepest hell, if not careful)

SirGrok (author)PetervG2007-01-24

Really? I recommend more.

hultint (author)2007-12-16

HELP GUYS!!!!! Am having party for 50 and want to serve Caipirinhas to start with!!! Any ideas??? I don't mind slaving over glasses in the kitchen but for 50! Not sure that would be clever as what an earth would happen to the food in the meantime! Any advice gratefully appreciated!!!!!! Thanks in hope!

hultint (author)hultint2007-12-17

Obrigada for advice!! My Viking husband and I spent 2 months in Brasil this year and landed up in Buzios where we spent many a day and night enjoying this wonderful drink! We are now in Cape Town so thought I would definitely intoduce it to the natives here... they make something similar, but not as good!!

I have heard you can make pitchers instead of individual glasses. I have not done this but: I have made Caipirinhas to travel and one piece of advice I would give you is to remove most of the lime rinds leaving a couple for looks only since while you want some bitterness, leaving the rinds in too long makes the drink unbearable. Maybe you could mix all except the ice in the pitcher and pour it over crushed ice in a glass??

vesoloski (author)2007-09-17

Mint Caipirinha

12 leaves of fresh mint
1/5 spoon (soup) of sugar or the taste you choose
Juice of half lemon
Cachaça Gabriela Silver to complete (30 ml)
Crushed ice

Put the sugar and the leaves of mint at the glass and crush them until you have a little juice. Add the rushed ice to almost complete the cup. After that, add the juice of the half lemon and finally the Cachaça Gabriela Silver. Mix the drink with a spoon until it becomes a green color.

neypereira (author)2007-06-21

Really nice! You really get what Caipirinha is about: having your buddies anxiously hanging around the kitchen while you work your magic. Very good think you mentioned about removing the white center part - it makes your drink get bitter. Oh, and you're right about getting rid of what's left in the glass - some lazy people have the nasty habit of simply pouring some more cachaça on it and think they have another round ready. Yeah, right. I'd just change one thing: I'm a little on the James Bond side - I like it shaken, not stirred. Cheers from Brazil.

vesoloski (author)2007-02-14

Recipe of Caipirinha Gabriela


- 1/2 Lime (1 is better)
- 1 Tablespoon of sugar
- 4-6 cl of Cachaça Gabriela
- Ice Cubes

How to do it

Slice the lime in two or four pieces. Put the sugar in a glass and squeeze together the lemon pieces with a pestle. Then, add Cachaça Gabriela in the glass and stir it to mix. Add the ice and stir again.

Hello everyone. We are a Brazilian Trade company and we offer Brazilian Spirit known as Cachaça or Aguardente that we are introducing in the international market and they are being much appreciated in Europe. If you are interested in those goods, please feel free to contact us at We will send you the goods description and the price list. We can send you some samples to check the quality out. Cheers.

Marcos Thunder (author)2007-01-25

Nice! Have you tried with Vodka instead of Cachaca? It's called Caipivodka (It's just as lethal as with cachaca) ;) Actually you can make caipirinha with all kinds of fruits, pinaple, kiwi fruit, strawberry, cashew fruit, tangerine, passion fruit, even grapes, just to name a few... Cheers from RJ - BR

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