World’s best drinks: Caipirinha

By | Category: Travel tips & opinions

Put a little Brazil in your mouth! Sugary, sexy and simple, Brazil’s national cocktail, a tantalising three-ingredient taste of tropicalia, goes down oh so sweet and easy. Blame it on Rio!

Brazilians aren’t too sure about the origins of their beloved cocktail, but speculation says it began life as a potent potpourri of lime, garlic and honey intended for Spanish flu sufferers, with rum added to expedite the therapeutic effects. Today, it certainly expedites something, but its medicinal effects would surely be limited to liquid courage (though some still believe it helps a common cold).

You’ll need

1 large lime

2 tbsp refined sugar

60ml (2fl oz) cachaça

crushed ice

sprig of mint


1 Cut up the lime into four wedges, cutting around and discarding the core.

2 Place the wedges in the bottom of a rocks glass and muddle them for 15 seconds with the sugar.

3 Add crushed ice up to the rim of the glass.

4 Add cachaça and shake thoroughly in a cocktail shaker for 10-15 seconds.

5 Pour, garnish with the sprig of mint, and enjoy.

Tasting notes
A caipirinha is as sinister as it is simple: fresh limes and spoonfuls of sugar are drowned in cachaça, a sugar cane-distilled spirit native to Brazil and similar to rum, along with crushed ice. Nothing more, nothing less. The end result is a sickly-sweet and potent cocktail that goes down like candy. Variations can include caipiroska, made with vodka instead of cachaça; and caipifruta, made with a mix of various fruits rather than lime. You will also see versions made with tangerine, kiwi, star fruit, passion fruit – pretty much any fruit that tastes nice will taste even nicer when you throw sugar and alcohol at it! But the traditional recipe remains the most popular and ubiquitous in Brazil, an endless source of national pride.

Words: Kevin Raub

Extract taken from World’s Best Drinks (Lonely Planet, £9.99; out now)


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