DRINK RECIPE: Like a Brazilian [Caipirinha]


[Photo by Carrie Epps]

While I could normally care less about soccer/football, this year’s World Cup is taking place in Brazil, which is as good of an excuse as any to consume as many caipirinhas as I can over the next few weeks.

The caipirinha (say it with me now, KY-peer-een-ya) is Brazil’s national cocktail, and it’s truly delicious stuff. Like its cousin the daiquiri, the caipirinha also consists of liquor — in this instance, cachaça; sugar; and (traditionally!) lime. Cachaça, like rum, is made from sugarcane by-product, so you might hear it referred to as Brazilian rum, typically by people who can’t pronounce cachaça (ka-CHA-sa; and yes, I went there). Rum, however, is typically made from molasses, and cachaça from sugarcane juice so the two have entirely different tastes, which means you can’t swap for rum if you can’t find cachaça. I’ve done that before, and while it’ll be delicious, it won’t be a caipirinha. (And, in preparation, it won’t be a daiquiri, either, which is shaken and served straight up.)

The first time I got drunk by myself, it was on this foul premade caipirinha to which I added a ton of fresh lime in order to disguise the artificially saccharine taste. (I went through half the bottle in one night.) Don’t be like 22-year-old me. You don’t have to, especially since they’re so easy to make. On to the recipe!


• Half a lime, cut into wedges
• 2 tsp brown sugar
• Cachaça
• Ice
• Sugar cane (optional)

Special equipment:
• Rocks glass
• Muddler (or you could use the handle of a heavy wooden spoon)


1. In a rocks glass, muddle lime and sugar together. And put a little muscle in it, as you’re basically making a lime simple syrup.
2. Fill the glass to the top with ice; add cachaça to cover. (At this point, you might want to give it a quick stir to get the sugar and lime evenly distributed throughout the drink.) Garnish with sugar cane (if you’ve got it).
3. Sip and enjoy.