Step 1: Stock the Essentials
First things first: There can be no Caipirinhas without limes, sugar and cachaça. The limes can be cut into eighths ahead of time—each Caipirinha requires half a lime, so be sure you have enough to go around. We’d recommend about three whole limes per guest, allowing for some mess-ups and the occasional spent lime. As far as sugar goes, there’s no need to get fancy. Just set out a sugar bowl and teaspoon so guests can add as little or as much as they want to their drink.
The cachaça is where things gets a little more interesting. Just like rum, there are both aged and unaged options to choose from, and each one will lend different flavors to a Caipirinha. Instead of choosing between the two categories, provide both a classic unaged bottling like Leblon or Novo Fogo, as well as an aged cachaça, like Ypioca or Avuá Amburana, and let your guests decide.
Step 2: Gather Your Tools
While plastic cups are often the go-to for parties, Caipirinhas demand a sturdier vessel. Muddling the limes and sugar together can result in split plastic cups and a huge mess. We recommend going all glass for your party, with plenty of old-fashioned glasses. You’ll also want to have at least two muddlers and a few spoons dedicated to mixing, so the sugar spoon doesn’t end up a wet, sugar-caked mess.
While other accessories like julep straws, T-shirts that read “We Put the ‘HA’ in Caipirinha” and Brazilian flag toothpicks are always encouraged, the third most important Caipirinha-making accessory after muddlers and glassware is an ice bucket filled to the brim with ice cubes. No one wants a warm Caipirinha.
Step 3: Master the Classic
Once all of the essential ingredients and tools are secured, it’s time for you, as the host, to master this easy formula: Cut a lime into four chunks and muddle with half a teaspoon of sugar in an old-fashioned glass until the sugar dissolves. Fill the glass with ice. Add two ounces of your chosen cachaça. Stir. Know it. Love it. Teach it to your guests.