How to Make a Caipirinha

“A Brazilian Mojito.” That’s what you’ll most often hear the Caipirinha described as. This drink is the national cocktail of Brazil, made with a purely Brazilian spirit, and yes, it resembles a Mojito. After slicing lime (carefully and purposefully; read detailed instructions on how to do it properly here, if you’re interested) and muddling it with sugar, you add cachaça—a liquor that you’ll most often hear called “Brazilian rum.” More on cachaça in a second. Right now, what you need to know is that when you tire of the Mojito as your go-to summer drink, you’ll want to turn here. A Caipirinha is light and refreshing, with just enough bite to get you through.

A Little Background

To know what a Caipirinha is, you must first know what cachaça is. For those not yet initiated, cachaça is a Brazilian liquor that usually gets lumped in with rum, but isn’t rum. Not really. Cachaça is made from fermented sugar cane juices, whereas rum is made from sugar cane byproducts, like molasses. Dull, we know! The important distinction comes down to taste: Cachaça is funky, vegetal, and unsubtle. If you don’t get one of the better ones, it reeks. It isn’t sweet like rum, either. You’ll know the difference when you’re close enough to smell it.

In fact, according to the Brazilian Institute of Cachaça, it was the first liquor to be distilled in Latin America, well before the spirits we consider staples (tequila, rum, bourbon). The Smithsonian recounts that it was drunk primarily by slaves working the sugar plantations.

Nowadays, cachaça is also getting more and more popular in America, where bars and liquor stores are stocking bottles from its ancestral country of Brazil thanks to friendlier trade relations between the countries. For some reason, John Travolta, sporting a snazzy soul patch, starred in a commercial for cachaça in 2013, in which he made Brazilian friends, sambaed, and kicked a soccer ball. Ole ola.

If You Like, Try These

Here, we’re all about the killer (and super simple) partnership of lime and liquor. With that in mind, the Caipirinha most closely aligns with the Mojito, as we know: lime, sugar cane liquor, sugar. But the Mojito deviates in its build. Plus, it has mint. The classic Margarita is a cousin too, as is the Daiquiri.

What You Need

Here’s what you need to do a Caipirinha justice, beyond what you might be able to dig out of the fridge or cupboard.

Food styling by Sean Dooley
Prop Styling by Summer Moore

Source : Esquire