The Caipirinha is one of the most well known Brazilian cocktails synonymous with Brazil’s sugar cane spirit, caçacha. Over the last few years, the cocktail has risen to global fame thanks to an increased interest in and availability of caçhaca outside of Brazil. The cocktail’s name is derived from a Portuguese pejorative term used to describe working class folk—caipira—which loosely translates to “hillbilly.” But the people of Brazil take no umbrage with the name—they’re too busy enjoying the grassy, citrusy mix of caçhaca, lime and sugar, built directly into the glass. While the drink’s history is murky, most Brazilians agree that the Caipirinha got its start as a 19th century folk remedy for cholera and the Spanish flu (some traditionalists still swear by the cocktail as a cure-all). We’re not sure about the drink’s medical merits, but we can vouch for its undeniable thirst quenching properties.
The caçacha you use will dramatically alter the cocktail’s flavor. Caçachas can vary wildly in the amount of funkiness that they have. Some are also aged in barrels, and the type of wood in which they were aged in will affect the taste as well. Two of our favorite caçachas for making Caipirinhas are Leblon Cachaça—which produces a vibrant, ultra-refreshing Caipirinha—and Avuá Prata, which is funkier and fruitier. To make the cocktail, all you will need is a bottle of caçacha, a few limes, sugar cubes, a muddler and some arm strength. We assure you that once you get the knack—and a taste—for Caipirinhas, they will surely become a summer staple.