Culture / Food

Let’s Drink Caipirinhas and Watch the World Cup

article-new-thumbnail-ehow-images-a04-ld-p6-make-flower-arrangements-sliced-limes-800x800In 1997, I went to Portugal with Luisa for the first time. We stayed with her grandparents in their apartment just outside of Lisbon for much of the month we were there. We’d travel around the city and surrounding areas during the day and go back to the apartment most evenings to have dinner with her grandparents. Before dinner, however, we always had drinks – usually gin and tonics – but one evening, Luisa’s grandfather took me into the kitchen and told me he was going to teach me how to make caipirinhas.

Caipirinha (pronounced kai-peer-een-ya) is the signature cocktail of Brazil but I’d never heard of it and that night, he taught me about cachaça (a type of Brazilian rum made from sugar cane) and muddling lime and sugar. It will always be one of my favorite memories, not just of Luisa’s grandfather but of my time in Portugal.

So, in celebration of the World Cup hosted by Brazil, it seems like the perfect time to share my caipirinha recipe with all of you. Obviously, you will need to find cachaça which, in my experience, has become more widely available in recent years. The brands I’ve seen most often are 51, Ypioca, Pitu and Leblon. I’d happily use any of those though 51 would be my last choice if other brands are available. If you cannot find cachaça, you need to move to a different state. If that’s not possible, you  may substitute vodka and the resulting drink is then called a caipiroska (pronounced kai-peer-oshka). Also, these are usually served in lowball glasses though any glass will do.

Ingredients:

2 to 3 ounces cachaça
1 lime, cut into eighths
2 tsp sugar
ice

Directions:

1.Put the lime in the glass.

2. Add 2 tsp sugar to the lime and muddle. “Muddle” is fancy cocktail talk for “smash the hell out of it until all the juice is released.” If you do not have a muddler, the back of a spoon will do.

3. Once all the juice is out of the limes and the sugar is well mixed, add the cachaça and muddle some more.

4. Leave the lime wedges in the glass and fill with ice. This is an important step because you want it ice cold but also the melting ice cuts the alcohol so there is no need for an additional mixer.

5. Stir the drink and then serve with the stirrer.

You can adjust the amounts of sugar and cachaça to your taste. I use less sugar in my drinks but most people seem to prefer it with more.

No matter how you like them, caipirinhas are the perfect drink for summer. Saúde!

FEATURE PHOTO CREDIT: EHOW

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4 Comments

  1. Cheers. This has made me the happiest person in ever because I want to buy the ingredients and make them this week. Or now. Whichever.

  2. Can you please come over and make us some caipirinhas? They taste much better when we’re drinking them with friends.

  3. I know it’s counter-productive to do this today, when the US is playing Portugal, but I’ve had this damn tab open since you posted the recipe just for this occasion. Limes are sliced, Pitu opened, and GO USA!

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