One of the most typical things about Brazil is the creativity of its local people, who would often use simple ingredients to create delicious recipes. This trait defines our country and culture like no other. If you ever heard about feijoada, then you probably know that this recipe was invented by slaves using leftovers from their masters’ plates and that it only takes a few slices of pork and dark beans to prepare.
However, it’s not only food which has a special meaning for the Brazilians – there are also some drinks that are essential to understanding our culture as well. Caipirinha, with its ‘green-and-yellow’ country flavors, is one of these fundamental drinks which make Brazil what it is today.
Caipirinha is a quintessential cocktail in Brazil for two main reasons – first, it uses a locally distilled spirit which is made of a fermented sugar cane, called cachaça, and can be easily found in any bar. Besides, it is one of the cheapest alcoholic beverages, costing less than vodka or even beer, in some cases. Second, the caipirinha’s original history includes something that all Brazilians know too well – namely, ‘the Brazilian’ way to make everything taste better.
According to an old tale, caipirinha is an adaptation from syrup that was used to combat Spanish flue in 1918, when it replaced honey and garlic to reduce the acidity of lemon. Some people started to add a bit of alcohol to their medications to speed up the recovery process. And that’s how caipirinha was born! Just like the famous American soda, caipirinha was a direct consequence of natural medicine being adapted to an every-day beverage.
The secret to making a great caipirinha is in the correct order of its ingredients – you have to put the ice first, and you cannot forget to put the sugar before the alcohol. It might sound difficult, but it’s actually a lot easier to make than you’d think.
- 1 lemon
- 2 spoons of sugar
- 45ml of cachaça
- ice cubes
- lemon slices to decorate
How to make a typical Brazilian Caipirinha:
Cut the lemon into thin slices or make some lime wedges. Put it in a glass or in a cocktail shaker. Add two spoons of sugar. If you like soft drinks, then you can add three spoons of sugar, but if you want a strong and heavy alcoholic drink then you should only add one spoon. The sugar is the main ingredient which defines the taste of this cocktail.
Now it’s time to fuse those ingredients together. You have to macerate the mixture for awhile to extract the lemon juice and then mix it with sugar.
If you don’t have a measuring cup for cachaça, you can use a tequila shot glass. The difference is only 5ml, so it won’t make a huge impact on the favor. The ideal quantity is 45ml. You can also use your favorite brand of cachaça.
Fill up a cocktail glass with ice cubes, as they will be required later to mix the drink. If you are making your caipirinha in a glass, then you should transfer the ingredients into a cocktail shaker. Close the lid and shake. Pay close attention to the feel of your cocktail shaker’s surface – you should only stop shaking your drink once it starts to “sweat”. That’s the ultimate sign that your drink is ready.
Serve the caipirinha in a cocktail glass. You can also decorate it with some lemon slices or a mint leaf at the top. Finally, place a straw in it and enjoy your caipirinha!
So that’s the classical and traditional way to make a great caipirinha, though Brazilians were of course not satisfied with making it in just one way. Hence, one can also make some small adjustments and create different versions around the original recipe. For example, if you like vodka or sake – you can make a caipivodka, or a caipisake. It might sound weird at first, but these changes were part of caipirinha’s adaptation process in Brazil.
Also, you can change or add other fruits to your caipirinha. The most popular ones are strawberry, kiwi, pineapple and passion fruit, but you are also free to use your imagination and create a cocktail to your own taste. This is why the Brazilian caipirinha is so unique, since it embraces our entire country’s diverse culture together in one.
Finally, to feel like a real Brazilian, you should put some samba or even a MPB music on. Or you can even enjoy this cocktail during a soccer play with your friends at home. Caipirinha was designed to be a simple, easy and tasteful cocktail, just like Brazilian feelings.
If you ever come to Brazil, you must try all the caipirinhas, especially in small bars around our famous beaches, which often have great parties and professional bartenders. It’s a cocktail which truly represents our country best, as well as delights all tourists, and you just can’t leave Brazil without trying this amazing drink.