Caipirinha Please… No, Wait. A Caipiroska

Continuing my theme of the day: how interchangeable certain alcohols are in certain cocktails; I feel compelled to discuss, briefly at least, the family of Caipirinha cocktails:

Across the Caribbean and now most of the world the preferred distillate of sugar cane is Rum. White, golden, dark, spiced even the newer infused rums, it doesn’t matter what type of rum, what matters is that it is RUM.

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The Caipirinha, packs a punch, but it’s full of South American flavour.

This may be the case across almost all the world, but down in South America, Brazil especially, this is far from the case. Cachaca is the distillate of choice. Cachaca is a sugar distillate not too dissimilar to rum, but it arguably lacks the same smoothness of some rum products. Regardless of its texture, it has been used in one of the 20th century’s most popular cocktails. Served across the beaches of South America, be it Brazil, Argentina and even Uruguay, Caipirinha’s are a source of great joy for locals and tourists alike.

The standard recipe for a Caipirinha takes half a lime (cut into wedges) and muddles it with brown sugar, then after topping up with crushed ice, 2 measures (around 50ml) of Cachaca is added. A quick stir later and you’re sipping on a very strong, but refreshingly crisp cocktail.

This cocktail is traditionally served with crushed ice in a rocks glass.

Classic (American/UK) Caipirinha Recipe

50ml Cachaca

½ lime (cut into wedges)

2 teaspoons brown sugar

Top up ice.

Top tip: very gently muddle the lime with the sugar until the sugar has all but dissolved. Then add the cachaca and give it a swizzle stir. Serve with 2 straws.

This recipe is so easy to tweak to your tastes its perfect for chilled evenings watching the football with your pals, or catching up with your girlfriends after a busy day shopping. Either way this versatile drink can be tweaked several ways:

Short Cachaca Mojito

45ml Cachaca

½ lime (cut into wedges)

2 teaspoons sugar syrup

2-5 mint leaves

Top up crushed ice.

Splash of soda water

This version of the Caipirinha is simply a short version of a Mojito using cachaca instead of rum. Using the same method for the standard Caipirinha, only when muddling the lime and sugar you muddle the mint leaves too.

The splash of soda water adds the familiar mojito fizz, without diluting the drink.

Margarita Caipirinha

40ml cachaca

10ml triple sec

¼ orange (cut into chunks)

2 teaspoons sugar syrup

Top up crushed ice.

This cocktail uses the margarita as inspiration, mixing triple sec, cachaca and lime to create the feel of a margarita but served in a traditional South American way.

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Try using all your favourite fruits in Caipirinha’s you try at home, this one is made with Passion fruit. Just add a little bit of your fruit to the muddling phase…

The interchangeable alcohol idea:

A famous north American/European cocktail known as the Caipiroska is a simple twist on the standard Caipirinha cocktail. The Caipiroska uses high quality vodka, lime and sugar to the same ends as a Caipirinha. The idea is that this is a refreshing drink using an alcohol that North Americans and Europeans are used to (vodka).

Classic Caipiroska Recipe

50ml high grade vodka (i.e. Green Mark)

½ lime (cut into wedges)

2 teaspoons brown sugar

Top Tip: If you have it available, use agave nectar. This sugar syrup like product is fantastically sweet and works brilliantly with this cocktail (as well as mojito’s but that’s a discussion for a future post).

If you find this drink a little too strong for your tastes, then try having it in a taller Collins glass and top up with soda water…

One last note about the Caipiroska; the citrus noted above is lime, but because vodka is such a neutral spirit, there is no reason why you cannot use the same quantities of any citrus fruit; some good examples and quantities are as follows:

Orange – ¼ orange (cut into chunks)

Lemon – ½ small lemon (cut into wedges/chunks)

Grapefruit – ¼ small Grapefruit (cut into chunks)

After note: now it has come to my attention (through a source) that the above recipe is purely an Americanised version of the cocktail. I have it on good authority (see the comment below) that the original recipe from Brazil actually uses lemons. Although they are actually green lemons! It’s quite easy to see that from an american point of view if it’s green it must be a lime… Well this is not true. Brazilians use what are simply green lemons. So if you want a Brazilian Caipirinha (and you don’t mind swapping out the green colour for yellow) replace the lime chunks with lemon. For an extra special twist, shave a large full circumference slice of lemon peel and fit it around the glass (after muddling the chunks & sugar), then add the ice and Cachaca … Whichever recipe you choose I’m sure you’ll enjoy the drink all the same. sure lemons will change the flavour slightly, but it’ll still be a refreshing summer drink!

Drink up I’ve just ordered you another one!

Thanks to http://thingsthatfizz.wordpress.com/ for the advice below!

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5 thoughts on “Caipirinha Please… No, Wait. A Caipiroska”

  1. I have been enjoying browsing through your posts, until I found this one. I’m sorry, but I must take you to task on the caipirinha recipe. Caipirinhas do NOT have lime in them, they have lemons; here in Brazil we have green lemons, they are NOT limes. Limes are sweet, lemons are sour, hence the need for sugar. This is a mistake of almost 100% of Americans, if it’s green, it’s a lime… not true. Americans are familiar with the yellow lemon varieties; not all lemons are yellow. Even looking on Google it is hard to find the true distinction, because the majority of uploads are by Americans, which makes it all the more confusing.

    I have added your blog to my links, thanks for following mine, appreciated. I will be following yours as I love cocktails.

    1. This is the thing I questioned myself, but I could only find recipes with limes. I apologise for the inaccuracy, and I will now make them with lemons!
      Thank you for the comment as quite obviously it has corrected a rather big overlook!

      Thank you for thr follow, I shall try to keep my posts interesting for everyone 😀 are their any cocktails preferred in brazil (mot including the caipirinha of course haha)

      1. Cool. Congrats on your nomination for the Liebster Award, I got lumbered as well, just finished my post in fact. I would have awarded you too, but LOTD beat me to it.

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