Caipirinha Cocktail Drink

Caipirinha

A shot of Gavin Wrigley looking to the camera in a dimly lit room
Written by Gavin Wrigley
Andrea
Tested by
Andrea Ottaiano

Prepare to have some fun mixing this easy Caipirinha recipe! Use a few simple ingredients to make a cocktail that looks great and tastes even better.

Best Caipirinha Recipe

Sip into summer with this straightforward Caipirinha recipe! Made with Cachaça, fresh lime, and sugar, this Brazilian cocktail is a refreshment perfect for any hot day.

Prep time:

1 minute

Mixing time:

2 minutes

Servings:

1

Calories:

218 kl

Ingredients

  • 2 oz Cachaça
  • 5 lime wedges, to extract lime juice
  • ½ oz simple syrup
  • Crushed ice
  • Lime wedge, to garnish

Equipment

  • Muddler
  • Old Fashioned Glass
  • Measuring Jigger

Instructions

  • Prep Glass: Place 5 lime wedges in the Old Fashioned glass.
  • Add Simple Syrup: Add ½ oz simple syrup to the mix.
  • Muddle: Use a muddler to crush the lime and sugar together. You're doing this to release the lime juice, but you don't want to pulverize it into a pulp. Aim to press the limes to release the juice, but don't smash it into pieces. The sugar will help extract the juice from the lime.
  • Add Cachaça: Pour 2 oz Cachaça into the glass over the lime and sugar mixture.
  • Add Ice: Fill the glass with crushed ice.
  • Stir: Use a spoon to stir the ingredients together well. You want to blend the sugar into the Cachaça and mix the lime evenly.
  • Add Ice: Fill the glass with crushed ice one more time.
  • Garnish: garnish with a lime wedge.

Notes

Substitutes:

  • Cachaça: If you can't find Cachaça, white rum makes a decent substitute. It's not the same, but it works. I've also used vodka, but keep in mind that it will lack the unique sugarcane flavor of Cachaça.
  • Sugar: You can use granulated sugar if you're out of simple syrup. I usually go for 2 bar spoons of sugar. It dissolves easily and does the trick.
  • Lime: Lemon can replace lime if you're in a pinch. It changes the flavor profile but still tastes great.

Making a Pitcher of Caipirinha:

  • Scale: To make a pitcher that serves 8, you'll need 8 limes, 4 oz of simple syrup, and 16 oz of Cachaça.
  • Mix: In a large pitcher, muddle the limes and simple syrup first. Then add the Cachaça and stir well.
  • Serve: Pour the mixture into ice-filled Old Fashioned glasses and serve immediately.

Making it Non-Alcoholic:

  • Cachaça Substitute: Use a non-alcoholic white grape juice or apple juice as a substitute for Cachaça. Add a splash of lime juice to mimic the complexity of the alcohol.
  • Proceed As Usual: Use this non-alcoholic substitute and follow the original steps for a refreshing, alcohol-free Caipirinha.

Making it Vegan:

The original recipe is already vegan, so no modifications are necessary. Ensure that the sugar you're using is vegan, as some sugar brands use bone char in the refining process.

Nutrition Facts

Calories
218
% Daily Value*
Fat
 
0.1
g
0
%
Saturated Fat
 
0.01
g
0
%
Sodium
 
10
mg
0
%
Carbohydrates
 
18
g
6
%
Fiber
 
2
g
8
%
Sugar
 
12
g
13
%
Potassium
 
77
mg
2
%
Protein
 
0.5
g
1
%
Polyunsaturated Fat
 
0.04
g
Monounsaturated Fat
 
0.01
g
Vitamin A
 
34
IU
1
%
Vitamin C
 
20
mg
24
%
Calcium
 
24
mg
2
%
Iron
 
1
mg
6
%

 

Caipirinha Cocktail Drink

Best Caipirinha Recipe

Jump to Video
Sip into summer with this straightforward Caipirinha recipe! Made with Cachaça, fresh lime, and sugar, this Brazilian cocktail is a refreshment perfect for any hot day.
Prep time: 1 minute
Mixing time: 2 minutes
Servings: 1
Calories: 218

Ingredients
 

  • 2 oz Cachaça
  • 5 lime wedges - to extract lime juice
  • ½ oz simple syrup
  • Crushed ice
  • Lime wedge - to garnish

Equipment

  • Muddler
  • Old Fashioned Glass
  • Measuring Jigger

Instructions

  • Prep Glass: Place 5 lime wedges in the Old Fashioned glass.
  • Add Simple Syrup: Add ½ oz simple syrup to the mix.
  • Muddle: Use a muddler to crush the lime and sugar together. You're doing this to release the lime juice, but you don't want to pulverize it into a pulp. Aim to press the limes to release the juice, but don't smash it into pieces. The sugar will help extract the juice from the lime.
  • Add Cachaça: Pour 2 oz Cachaça into the glass over the lime and sugar mixture.
  • Add Ice: Fill the glass with crushed ice.
  • Stir: Use a spoon to stir the ingredients together well. You want to blend the sugar into the Cachaça and mix the lime evenly.
  • Add Ice: Fill the glass with crushed ice one more time.
  • Garnish: garnish with a lime wedge.

Notes

Substitutes:

  • Cachaça: If you can't find Cachaça, white rum makes a decent substitute. It's not the same, but it works. I've also used vodka, but keep in mind that it will lack the unique sugarcane flavor of Cachaça.
  • Sugar: You can use granulated sugar if you're out of simple syrup. I usually go for 2 bar spoons of sugar. It dissolves easily and does the trick.
  • Lime: Lemon can replace lime if you're in a pinch. It changes the flavor profile but still tastes great.

Making a Pitcher of Caipirinha:

  • Scale: To make a pitcher that serves 8, you'll need 8 limes, 4 oz of simple syrup, and 16 oz of Cachaça.
  • Mix: In a large pitcher, muddle the limes and simple syrup first. Then add the Cachaça and stir well.
  • Serve: Pour the mixture into ice-filled Old Fashioned glasses and serve immediately.

Making it Non-Alcoholic:

  • Cachaça Substitute: Use a non-alcoholic white grape juice or apple juice as a substitute for Cachaça. Add a splash of lime juice to mimic the complexity of the alcohol.
  • Proceed As Usual: Use this non-alcoholic substitute and follow the original steps for a refreshing, alcohol-free Caipirinha.

Making it Vegan:

The original recipe is already vegan, so no modifications are necessary. Ensure that the sugar you're using is vegan, as some sugar brands use bone char in the refining process.

What is a Caipirinha?

A Caipirinha is a cocktail with Cachaça, lime, and sugar. Many consider it Brazil’s national drink, and it’s a go-to for those looking for something refreshing and straightforward. The name Caipirinha is derived from the Portuguese word “caipira,” which refers to someone from the countryside, highlighting its rustic origins. You don’t need to be a bartender to appreciate a Caipirinha. The International Bartenders Association (IBA) lists the Caipirinha as a “Contemporary Classic” to show its wide popularity and current appeal.

A side shot of a Caipirinha cocktail in an old fashioned glass on a black stone plate surrounded by many lime wedges on a grey table with a jigger and a shaker on the background.

What is a Caipirinha made of – The ingredients

This is what you need to make a Caipirinha:

  • Cachaça: The backbone of the cocktail, providing the alcoholic kick and distinct sugarcane flavor.
  • Lime: Adds tartness and citrus notes, balancing the sweetness of the sugar.
  • Sugar: Sweetens the drink and helps to muddle the lime, extracting its juice.
  • Ice cubes: Chill the cocktail, making it refreshing and enjoyable.

Cachaça, lime and simple syrup laid out on a white bar table.

How do you make a Caipirinha?

Try our easy-to-follow instructions to make this drink:

1
<p>Place lime wedges in an Old Fashioned glass to prepare for muddling.</p>

Place lime wedges in an Old Fashioned glass to prepare for muddling.

2
<p>Pour ½ oz of simple syrup adding a touch of sweetness to the mix.</p>

Pour ½ oz of simple syrup adding a touch of sweetness to the mix.

3
<p>Use a muddler to crush the lime and sugar together in the glass. Aim to release the lime juice without turning it into a pulp.</p>

Use a muddler to crush the lime and sugar together in the glass. Aim to release the lime juice without turning it into a pulp.

4
<p>Pour 2 oz of Cachaça into the glass, adding it to the muddled lime and sugar mixture.</p>

Pour 2 oz of Cachaça into the glass, adding it to the muddled lime and sugar mixture.

5
<p>Fill the glass with crushed ice to chill the cocktail.</p>

Fill the glass with crushed ice to chill the cocktail.

6
<p>Stir the ingredients together using a spoon. Make sure to blend all the ingredients together.</p>

Stir the ingredients together using a spoon. Make sure to blend all the ingredients together.

7
<p>Fill the glass with crushed ice one more time.</p>

Fill the glass with crushed ice one more time.

8
<p>Garnish with a lime wedge.</p>

Garnish with a lime wedge.

How do you pronounce Caipirinha?

Getting the pronunciation of Caipirinha right is an excellent start to enjoying this classic Brazilian cocktail. It’s pronounced “kai-pee-REEN-ya,” emphasizing the “REEN.” The name rolls off the tongue like the drink, smooth and refreshing. While the spelling might initially seem intimidating, saying it correctly adds to the authentic experience of enjoying a Caipirinha.

Best Cachaça for a Caipirinha

Choosing the right Cachaça is crucial for making an authentic Caipirinha. For a traditional experience, go for artisanal Cachaças like Novo Fogo or Leblon, which offer a clean, sugarcane-forward taste. These brands are often aged in wooden barrels, adding complexity to the flavor. If you’re on a budget but still want quality, Ypióca is a solid pick that won’t break the bank. But if you aim for the best, consider splurging on Avuá Prata. It’s a premium Cachaça that brings out the cocktail’s nuances without overpowering the lime and sugar.

A Caipirinha cocktail, shot from above, in an old fashioned glass on a black stone plate surrounded by many lime wedges on a grey table.

Caipirinha Variations

Keen to explore diverse styles? Here are a few of our best selections.

  • Mango Caipirinha: Here, ripe mangoes blend seamlessly with lime, sugar, and cachaça. The mangoes contribute a tropical, juicy sweetness. I enjoy the rich, velvety texture the mango provides; it creates a truly exotic and luscious experience.
  • Passion Fruit Caipirinha: This twist introduces the tangy and aromatic flavor of passion fruit to the classic ingredients. The passion fruit’s unique tartness complements the lime, adding a complex and invigorating layer to the taste.
  • Kiwi Caipirinha: This version adds kiwi, creating a balance between the kiwi’s slight tartness and the sweet components. The kiwi also imparts a bright green color and a refreshing, zesty edge to the traditional mix.
  • Pineapple Caipirinha: Pineapple is the star here, offering a sweet and tangy twist. Its tropical flair pairs wonderfully with the lime and sugar, producing a drink that’s both refreshing and reminiscent of a beach vacation.
  • Coconut Caipirinha: Coconut brings a creamy, rich dimension to the classic recipe. The coconut’s subtle sweetness and creamy texture blend beautifully with the cachaça, creating a smooth and exotic taste.
  • Watermelon Caipirinha: Featuring fresh watermelon, this variation is exceptionally refreshing. The watermelon’s sweetness and high water content make it a hydrating and light option, perfect for hot days.
  • Caipiroska: This substitute vodka for cachaça, offering a smoother and slightly less potent profile. It maintains the essential lime and sugar components, appealing to those who prefer vodka’s clean taste.
  • Caipisake: In this unique adaptation, sake replaces cachaça, introducing a delicate and slightly floral note. The subtle flavors of sake make this a more refined and elegant take on the traditional recipe.
  • Strawberry Caipirinha: This one combines the refreshing taste of strawberries with the traditional lime, sugar, and cachaça. The strawberries bring a natural sweetness and a vibrant, fruity aroma. Personally, I love how the strawberries enhance the freshness, making it a perfect choice for a sunny day.
  • Caipifruta: This encompasses any caipirinha made with a variety of fruits. It allows for endless creativity, combining different fruits with the lime and sugar base. Each fruit choice offers a new and exciting flavor profile, catering to diverse preferences.

A Caipirinha cocktail, shot from above, in an old fashioned glass on a black stone plate surrounded by many lime wedges and a jigger on a grey table.

History and Origin of the Caipirinha

The Caipirinha hails from Brazil and dates back to the early 20th century. Initially, people used it for medicinal purposes, combining lime, garlic, and honey to treat colds and flu. Over time, Cachaça replaced these ingredients, transforming the remedy into a recreational beverage. The name “Caipirinha” derives from the Portuguese word “caipira,” which refers to someone from the countryside, emphasizing its rustic origins.

During the 19th century, Cachaça itself had a reputation as a lower-class drink, but the Caipirinha helped elevate its status. The cocktail gained international recognition, especially after the Brazilian government officially designated it as the country’s national cocktail.

A side shot of a Caipirinha cocktail in an old fashioned glass on a black stone plate surrounded by many lime wedges on a grey table with a jigger on the side.

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FAQ

How many calories are in a Caipirinha?
A standard Caipirinha has around 130-150 calories, depending on the sugar content.
How strong is a Caipirinha in terms of ABV and proof?
The strength varies based on the Cachaça used but generally ranges from 35-48% ABV or 70-96 proof.
What type of alcohol is used in a Caipirinha?
Cachaça, a Brazilian spirit made from sugarcane, is the alcohol used in a Caipirinha.
In which glass is a Caipirinha typically served?
It's usually served in an Old Fashioned glass.
What does a Caipirinha taste like?
A Caipirinha tastes like a balanced mix of sweet, sour, and strong, thanks to the sugar, lime, and Cachaça.
What is the ratio of ingredients in a Caipirinha?
The classic ratio is 1 lime, 2 teaspoons of sugar, and 2 oz of Cachaça.
How is a Caipirinha served in terms of ice?
A Caipirinha is served over ice cubes, making it a refreshing, chilled drink.
Can I use brown sugar instead of white sugar?
Yes, brown sugar can add a richer, molasses-like flavor.
What's the difference between Cachaça and rum?
Cachaça is made from fresh sugarcane juice, while rum is often made from molasses.
Is a Caipirinha similar to a Mojito?
While both are refreshing and use lime, a Mojito uses rum and mint, making it different from a Caipirinha.
Can I make a Caipirinha in advance?
It's best to make it fresh to preserve the flavors and effervescence of the lime.
Is Caipirinha similar to a Margarita?
While both the Caipirinha and Margarita use lime and are refreshing, they are different drinks; the Caipirinha uses Cachaça and sugar, whereas the Margarita features tequila and often includes triple sec.
Can you make a Caipirinha with rum?
Yes, you can make a Caipirinha with rum, but it will be closer to a Mojito and won't have the distinct sugarcane flavor of Cachaça.

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