Caipirinhas are one of the most refreshing cocktails of the season. And this simple recipe, packed with tons of fresh lime, a touch of sweetness, and the beloved Brazilian spirit, cachaça, will cool you off all summer long.
Hands down, the Caipirinha is my favorite cocktail. Well, it actually may be tied with the Paloma. And I do love a glass of Prosecco. Hell, it’s tied with the Margarita too.
But in all honesty, I love whipping up (or ordering up) a caipirinha any chance I get. They’re so easy to make at home, require next to no preparation, and has hardly any added sugar. All you need on hand are a few limes, the actual liquor (cachaça), and some club soda.
Cachaça, which was once hard to find, is becoming easier and easier to get a hold of these days. In the past few years it has gained momentum in the cocktail word, much like other small batch operations that are gaining traction in a movement towards craft distilling and brewing. By law, cachaça must be made in Brazil (similar to how a bottle of Champagne can only carry that name if the grapes have been grown in the Champagne region of France) and is made from cane juice pressed from the stalks of sugarcane.
You’ll hear Cachaça often referred to as “Brazil’s rum”, and although it is distilled from the fresh cane juice, it’s significantly different from what we think of as rum. Traditional rum is made by distilling cane juice that has been processed into molasses, which gives it that rich, caramel-like flavor. Whereas, cachaça is made by fermenting fresh sugarcane juice then distilling to create the spirit. Compared side by side, cachaça with have a much brighter, grassy, and almost herbaceous flavor than rum.
Cachaça researcher, Felipe Jannuzzi, has traveled Brazil to research and explore the different types of cachaça from the various regions of the country (the method in which it is made varies from region to region). Jannuzzi and his fellow researchers have identified more than 70 different aromas in cachaça. (And you say your bottle of red has a lot of character … JK, I love red.) Much like the aroma wheel created for wine, Januzzi and his fellow researchers have created an aroma wheel for cachaça.
Although there are brands that sell industrial, big-batch cachaça, much of this spirit that’s consumed worldwide is actually from premium artisanal productions. So, you can feel good about drinking this spirit, because you’re helping to keep an industry of small batch producers in business, how cool is that?
Classically, caipirinhas are muddled right in the rocks glass they are served in, but I prefer to shake mine for a few reasons:
- I can make more than one drink at a time if I use a shaker (holla! Who’s ready to partay?!).
- I like my cocktails thoroughly chilled.
- I think it really gets the lime wedges smashed up, which means more flavor.
1 lime, cut into wedges
½ – 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
5 ounces cachaça
Club soda or lime-flavored sparkling water (such as La Croix)
Lime wedges for garnish
In a cocktail shaker muddle lime wedges with sugar. Add cachaça and fill shaker three-quarters full with ice, secure lid, and shake vigorously. Pour (don’t strain) into two rocks glasses and top with club soda or sparkling water.
Add a few more lime wedges for garnish, if desired.
I’m sharing my Caipirinha recipe for this month’s Recipe ReDux theme:
Showers and celebrations with friends abound this time of year. Show us your healthy, colorful drink concoctions for festivities like bridal showers and graduation celebrations.
With very little added sugar, I thought this was the perfect recipe to share for a lighter, healthier cocktail option. I give a range on how much sugar to add because we all prefer our drinks a little different. I like my drinks on the tart side, so I would lean towards adding less sugar.
Need to outfit your bar cart? Here are some of my favorite bar essentials:
- Cocktail shaker for the bartender in the family
- Cocktail shaker that will make a statement
- Casual rocks glasses (used here)
- Diamond shaped rocks glass
- Patio-safe rocks glasses
- Champagne Tumbler
- Stemless wine Glassses
- Stunning wine glasses
- Square ice cube trays