Caipirinha: A Drink to Remember


Hi! Today, we learn about the legendary Caipirinha. (Pronunciation - CAI-PI-RINIA). I first tried this drink about two years ago. At first sip, I immediately fell in love with it and continued to drink a few of these potions. They're pretty strong. And, I did have some issues getting home that night.

Anyway, also known as Brazil's national cocktail, Caipirinhas are typically made with cachaça, sugar, and lime. Cachaça, pronounced "CA-SHA-SA", is a distilled liquor made with sugar cane, kind of like rum. The main difference between rum and cachaça is that rum is made with molasses, a by-product of sugar cane juice, while cachaça is made with sugar cane juice. The taste of cachaça is comparable to rum but it is a bit sweeter.

Caipirinha. Source: Matteo Fini.

Caipirinha. Source: Matteo Fini.

The most basic Caipirinha recipe is simple. All you have to do is crush lime and sugar together then add some cachaça. The main thing to keep in mind is to avoid crushing the lime peel. Doing so will cause the drink to taste bitter. Given that the Caipirinha has been around for a while, creative people have developed some pretty cool variations of the drink. For example, the "Caipiroska" is made by substituting the cachaça with vodka. Another fun variation is the "Sakerinha", which utilizes sake instead of vodka. 

Nobody knows the exact origin of this potent concoction. But, it is agreed that the Caipirinha stemmed from an old recipe of garlic, lime, and honey to combat the Spanish Flu. In many cultures, distilled spirits were added to home remedies in order to hasten the recovery process. The Caipirinha was no different. One day, however, a hero decided to replace the garlic and honey with ice and sugar. As it is, the drink is still used as a cure for the common cold. I'm curious if sick kids in Brazil just drink Caipirinhas all day. 

If you want to try a great Caipirinha, go to Brazil. But, if that's not possible, try these spots in New York:

  1. Ipanema Restaurant: Link

  2. Berimbau Do Brasil: Link

  3. Yuca Bar & Restaurant: Link

Here are a few recipes you can try:

  1. Sakeirinha / Caipisake - Made with Sake instead of Cachaça: Link

  2. Caipiroska - Made with Vodka instead of Cachaça: Link

  3. Caipirinha: Link

  4. Ginger Caipirinha: Link