Caipirinha - Brazil's national drink
This is the refreshing taste of a summer beach holiday in a glass.
Cachaça to Brazil is the same as tequila is to Mexico or vodka to Russia, it’s the country’s most popular spirit. Around 800 million litres are produced each year from small batch producers to large distillers.
What makes a caipirinha a caipirinha?
It's all about the cachaça. Cachaça has many different classifications depending on how it is stored and bottled. It can be aged in wood before bottling or left in stainless steel containers. With the latter the spirit will be clear and labelled ‘branca’ meaning ‘white’. Some woods do not release colour and will also result in cachaça branca.
Ageing or storing the cachaça in wood is where it starts to get a little complicated. In both cases the cachaça is kept in wooden barrels. To be labelled as ‘aged’, the cachaça must have at least 50% that has been rested in barrels of up to 700 litres in size for at least a year. To be labelled as ‘stored’ simply means kept in a wooden barrel of any size for any period of time.
The aged cachaça will be further classified into ‘Premium’ and ‘Extra Premium’. In both cases 100% of the spirit needs to be aged in suitable barrels and in the case of Extra Premium, for a period of not shorter than three years.
How to make a caipirinha at home
Chop two limes into wedges and muddle them in a large jug with 6 tablespoons of caster sugar to release the lime juice. As it mixes with the sugar it will form a syrup. Get rid of the lime peel and divide the syrup between four glasses with 50ml cachaça in each. Top the glass up with crushed ice and garnish with more lime wedges – et voila!
If you’ve already visited Brazil, this cocktail will instantly transport you back there, on a trip down memory lane – and if you haven’t, then there’s a wonderful treat in store for you.