Introduction: 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

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

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

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

Step 4: Pith Removal

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

Slice each lime half into 8 pieces

Step 6: Place Pieces in Glass

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

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!)

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

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

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

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

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!

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!

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.