September 13th is National Caipirinha Day, so you’ve got a couple of days to perfect your recipe before the celebrations start. With Cachaça being a much loved drink in Brazil, it’s high time we all give it another try. This is a cocktail for barbecues and birthdays - not just to be left to the memories of a distant gap year. Caipirinhas can hold their own.
And what exactly is a Caipirinha?Caipirinha is one of the simplest cocktails that you can make. Made with Cachaça, 38-48% a Spirit made from the fresh pressed sugarcane juice that is fermented, called grape, it’s Brazil at its best. Mix with lime and sugar, then serve over ice. (You can get totally experimental with Cachaça and move away from Caipirinhas too, though we’ll leave that for another day...)
Caipirinha comes from the word “caipira” referring to people from rural or remote areas. Story has it that these “caipiras” e.g. country people perhaps working on the sugar plantations were the people that first invented the drink.
How to Make a CaipirinhaHere's a recipe to get you started...
- 2 tsp golden castor sugar
- 1 lime
- Handful of crushed ice
- 4 tbsp Cachaça
- Mint spring
Put two teaspoons of golden caster sugar into your glass, add the juice of one lime and muddle together for a minute or two. Add a handful of crushed ice and four tablespoons of Cachaça over the top. Garnish with a wheel of lime or a sprig of mint.
When did it become so popular?The Caipirinha has been growing in popularity, ever since Brazilians had proper ice and could enjoy the drink as a cocktail rather than a medicinal remedy. Brazilian beaches, culture, and nightlife have long been lauded, and the increasing ease of travel to the country help bolster the cocktail’s fame.
Back in 1995 there were under 2 million international tourists visiting, whereas in 2018 there were almost 7 million - as increased numbers of us are flocking to the intoxicating country, more and more of us are trying (and falling for) the Caipirinha. It has always been enjoyed by Brazilians and now has a place on the international stage as one of the most popular summer cocktails.
Okay, so which Cachaça should I be using?
1. Organic Albeha CachaçaOrganic Albeha Cachaça is crafted in Bahia, get the silver or the gold, which as a slightly earthier flavor.
2. Avua Cachaça PravataAvua Cachaça Pravata is crafted just outside of Rio.
3. BemBom Aged CachaçaBemBom Aged Cachaça is crafted in the state of Mias Gerais.
4. Novo FogoNovo Fogo is Another fabulous organic Cachaça, with an array of aged oak Cachaças and even some Caipirinha kits to choose from.
I’ve nailed the classic Caipirinha, any ideas for mixing it up?In short yes. Cachaça, although very different from Rum, has the same versatility. It’s a great match for any tropical fruits, and here’s just a few ideas to get your creative juices a-flowing…
1. Mango Batida
- 1/2 cup fresh mango or mango purée
- 1/4 cup Cachaça
- 1/4 cup sweetened Condensed Milk
- 2 dashes Angostura Bitters
- Crushed ice
InstructionsTake half a cup of mango purée or fresh mango and mix with a quarter cup of Cachaça and quarter cup of sweetened Condensed Milk. Add 2 dashes of Angostura Bitters and serve over crushed ice.
2. Coffee Caipirinha
- Brown sugar
- Cushed ice
- Coffee beans
InstructionsUse brown sugar rather than white as it pairs with the coffee better, and make your coffee really strong as the ice will water it down. Then add the star of the show, the Cachaça, and crushed or sliced coffee beans to decorate the top… just like you would a cappuccino. An unforgettable cocktail.
3. Cachaça and passion fruit
- 1 cup of passion fruit
- 1 cup of pineapple
- 1 cup of Cachaca
- 1/2 cup of sugar
InstructionsThis one couldn’t be easier and again should be served over ice.
4. Brazilian Batida
- 1 part orange juice
- 1 part pineapple juice
- 1 part strawberry juice
- 1 part mango puree and Cachaça mixed
- Peach Schnapps
- Fresh peach garnish