TGIF!!! And the games are on, so why not watch them with a good Caipirinha?
Caipirinha is Brazil’s national cocktail, made with cachaça (sugar cane hard liquor), sugar and lime. Cachaça is Brazil’s most common distilled alcoholic beverage (also known as Pinga or Caninha).
There are many stories about the caipirinha’s origin. The best known is one that begins around 1918, in the state of São Paulo. According to information, the caipirinha as we know it today would have been created from a popular recipe made with lemon, garlic and honey, indicated for patients of Spanish flu—and which, today, is still used to cure small colds. As it was quite common to put a little alcohol in any home remedy in order to expedite the therapeutic effect, rum was commonly used. “Until one day someone decided to remove the garlic and honey. Then added a few tablespoons sugar to reduce the acidity of lime. The ice came next, to ward off the heat,” explains Carlos Lima, executive director of IBRAC (Brazilian Institute of Cachaça).
The word caipirinha is the diminutive version of the word caipira, which refers to someone from the countryside, being an almost exact equivalent of the American English hillbilly or the Lowland Scots teuchter. The word may be used as either a masculine or a feminine noun, but when referring to this drink it is only feminine (usage of diminutives is common in Brazil). In the Brazilian vocabulary, the word caipirinha is mostly associated with the drink itself rather than the class of person.
There are many derivations of caipirinha in which other spirits substitute for cachaça. The most well-known include:
- The Caipiroska, in which vodka substitutes for cachaça.
- Caipiríssima is a caipirinha made with rum instead of cachaça; the word was coined for an advertisement for a popular rum brand in the late ’70s.
- Caipifruta, or most commonly know as “batida”, is a variation made with cachaça and other fruits instead of lime, typically found in tourist areas. The most popular fresh fruits used to create caipifrutas are tangerine lime, kiwifruit, passion fruit, pineapple, lemon, grapes, mango, cajá, and caju (cashew fruit).
- Sakeirinha or Caipisakê is a version made with sake.
Ingredients: lime*, white sugar (2 tbsp.), ice and authentic caipirinha which is made only with cachaça**.
* What we in Brazil call (Tahiti) lemon is known worldwide as lime.
** Try using the artisanal cachaça, not the industrial one. If you have more than a few drinks, the industrial cachaça (Velho Barreiro, Ypioca, 51) will probably give you a headache and a hangover the next day. A good quality cachaça (artisanal), won’t!
I chose a video in Portuguese as it is more representative of the real making. We do cut the edges and discard them. Some people will peel the lime to avoid acidity.
And, they say, the real caipirinha is served in a tall glass:
Have a wonderful weekend!