On a hot Summer day, a Brazilian Caipirinha is a refreshing change from the ordinary. Fresh lime, raw sugar, cachaça and cold seltzer come together easily bringing with them images of sandy beaches, tropical breezes and vacation. Nothing to make ahead and no shaker needed, this quick low-maintenance drink is made in one glass.
I had my very first Caipirinha about three years ago at my friend Jenny’s house. Before that, I had never heard of Brazil’s national drink or Cachaça (pronounced “KA SHA SA”), the Brazilian alcohol distilled from fresh sugarcane. The flavor of cachaça varies depending on the brand and the age. In general, I would describe it as less sweet than rum, but also not as strong.
Most “traditional” Caipirinha recipes don’t call for seltzer, but I find it much more refreshing during the Summer. Maybe it would be more accurate to call this a Caipirinha Spritzer. In anycase, with the addition of seltzer, you can drink more before you need to have a little lie down.
- 1 lime
- 1 1/2 tablespoons raw sugar, divided
- 6 tablespoons cachaça
- 1/2 cup crushed ice
- 1/4 cup cold seltzer (aka carbonated water)
Cut the lime up into cubes and place in your highball glass.
Sprinkle with 1 tablespoon of raw sugar.
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Using your muddler, pulverize the lime and sugar.
This process releases the juice from the pulp and the oils from the lime peel. When you are done, the sugar will be dissolved in the juice and it will look like this (see, no simple syrup needed).
Add the cachaça and give it a stir with the muddler.
Add the ice and then top off with the seltzer. Give it one more quick stir.
Sprinkle approximately 1/2 tablespoon of raw sugar on top and serve immediately.
I measured everything out in order to share the recipe with you, but usually I mix up this cocktail without a second thought. The proportions fit very nicely and logically in a highball glass. After a while, you’ll forget about the recipe too.
VARIATIONS: Muddle 2 tablespoons of a fruit that is really ripe and gorgeous with the lime. That’s what I’m going to try next!