Place lime pieces and sugar in a heavy rocks glass. Muddle to juice the lime, abrade the lime peel and dissolve the sugar. Fill with ice and cachaca and stir to combine. No garnish.
|1775-1840 (Pre-Cocktail), South of the Border, Summer Drink, Tropical
|1.3 standard drinks
|Old Fashioned or Rocks Glass
A Caipirinha is one of the most refreshing drinks I know of. On a hot day, this one is right up there with mint juleps and gin and tonics. It is the national drink of Brazil and there is some work involved in the muddling, but it is well worth it.
Cachaca (at least a lot of it in Brazil) is a rough spirit and the best guess as to how this drink came about was Brazilians trying to find a way to make cachaca more palatable a couple hundred years ago. I think they did a fantastic job.
The half lime in this recipe is a Persian lime (the common lime in U.S. grocery stores). If you are using Mexican or Key limes use a full lime (or almost all of it).
If you need to make a lot of Caipirinhas you can pre-muddle a bunch of glasses to get a head start. These glasses can be left to sit to let the sugar dissolve passively for 5 or 10 minutes. I've seen this done in Brazilian bars where they have a dozen glasses pre-made with muddled limes and sugar. Just let these sit until you need them - then ice and cachaca and you're on your way.
A Caipirinha might taste a little concentrated at first, but as the ice melts a little, you will achieve an extremely refreshing beverage.
I use Pitu cachaca which is on the lower end of the price scale (at least in the U.S.). It works well. I might investigate a higher end bottling of cachaca such as Leblon to see if this improves the drink. Also, aged cachaca would be interesting to try.
If you make a Caipirinha with vodka instead of cachaca it is called a Caipiroska. If you use rum instead you have a Caipiríssima.
Rating (Liquor & Drink)
Pitu cachaca and turbinado sugar made slowly to really let the sugar have a chance to dissolve. 4/2/2012