Caipirinha is the national cocktail of Brazil. Although there are many variations today, the original solely consists of Cachaça, cane sugar and lime. Cachaça which also goes by the names of Pinga or Caninha is Brazil’s most famous alcoholic beverage.
Like rum, it is made from sugar cane, whereas cachaça is distilled from fermented sugar cane juice while rum is usually made from sugar cane molasses. Since some rums are produced in a similar way, however, cachaça is sometimes also called Brazilian rum.
Against the common misconception of using brown cane sugar, Caipirinha is originally prepared with white cane sugar from Brazil. This distinct type has a more fruity aroma and also dissolves better in the cold liquid.
The Roots Of The Famous Brazilian Cocktail
The actual origin of the Caipirinha is a mystery but there are many stories about where it may have come from. The most common one dates back to the early 20th century. A mixture of lime, garlic and honey functioned as medication against the Spanish Flu in the state of São Paulo. Oftentimes, people would add a shot of rum to the mixture as it was common to use alcohol in home remedies to expedite the therapeutic effect.
Rumor has it that one day a person left out the honey and garlic and used sugar to balance the acidity of the lime instead. Finally, the ice followed as a means against the Brazilian heat and the Caipirinha we know today was born.
What Does “Caipirinha” Mean?
Caipirinha is the diminutive version of the word caipira. It is very similar in meaning and connotation to the American English “hillbilly”. Thus, the expression refers to people from the countryside. In Brazilian Portuguese, the word caipirinha is, however, mainly associated with the drink itself rather than the type of person.
Now get your ingredients together and try your very own Caipirinha with our delicious recipe below – or simply take a trip to Brazil!
Recipe: Caipirinha – Brazil's National Cocktail
- 1 lime
- 3 tea spoons fine white cane sugar (may be replaced with brown cane sugar if original is not available)
- 1 handfull crushed ice
- 5cl Cachaça (sugar cane hard liquor)
- Wash the lime and cut off the ends
- Cut it into 8-12 peices (the smaller the pieces the more juice can be extracted)
- Put the pieces of lime into a cocktail shaker together with the sugar and crush them
- Add the crushed ice and Cachaça
- Shake all ingredients, pour the mixed drink into a glass and serve it with a short straw
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Find more food and drinks from Brazil here.
Cocktail caipirinha by Wine Dharma, licensed under CC BY 2.0
lima by Tania Cataldo, licensed under CC BY 2.0