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OLYMPICS COCKTAIL RECIPE: The Caipirinha

What’s your weekend cocktail?

For the next three weeks, when watching the Olympics, it could be the Caipirinha, the national cocktail of Brazil. It’s made with the national’s official spirit, cachaça.

In the U.S., cachaça is considered “Brazilian rum,” but don’t call it that in front of a Brazilian!

  • Rum is distilled from molasses, the residue that remains after the sugar crystals are extracted from the sugar cane juice.
  • Cachaça is made from fresh cane juice, the purest product of sugar cane.
  • According to Wikipedia, cachaça is the third most consumed spirit in the world, although it doesn’t appear in this analysis from The Economist.
     
    CAIPIRINHA HISTORY

    Although the exact origins of caipirinha are not known, it is said that it began around 1918 in the state of São Paulo as a tonic for the Spanish Flu: cachaca, lime, garlic and honey. It is still used as a palliative for the common cold.

    Along the line, someone replaced the honey and garlic with sugar and ice as a cocktail, and the modern caipirinha was born.

    The name caipirinha is the diminutive of the caipira, Brazilian Portuguese for a peasant. Caipirinha is a “little peasant.”

    According to CaipirinhaRecipes.com, sugarcane plantations and cachaça production were established in rural areas where land and the labor of the caipiras were cheap. The spirit they made was what people drank, and a novelty variation emerged sweeting the spirit sugar and lime.

    When the cocktail traveled to the larger port-town of Santos, it was given the name of “Caipirinha.”
     
    RECIPE: THE CLASSIC CAIPIRINHA

    The traditional drink is made in an Old Fashioned glass. Many varieties have proliferated in recent years, from expected fruit versions like berries or pineapple, and sophisticated flavor combinations like rose and pink pepper.
     

    Ingredients Per Drink

  • 1 lime, cut into eight wedges
  • 2 teaspoons superfine sugar or 1 tablespoon simple syrup
  • 1½ ounces cachaça
  • Crushed ice
  • Optional garnish: lime wheel, mint sprig, sugar cane stick
  •  

    Caipirinha Cocktail

    Cacacha
    [1] The national cocktail of Brazil: the Caipirinha (photo courtesy JamieOliver.com). [2] A leading brand of cachaça, Leblon is named after the most affluent neighborhood in Rio.

     
    Preparation

    1. MUDDLE the lime and sugar into glass; then add ice to the top of the glass.

    2. ADD the cachaça, stir, garnish and serve.
     
    MORE CACHACA RECIPES

  • Read more about the History of Cachaça
  • Try some of The Nibble’s Cachaça-Based Cocktail Recipes
  •  
    THE OLD-FASHIONED GLASS

    The Old Fashioned glass, also called lowball glass, or rocks glass, is a short tumbler used for serving an alcoholic beverage with ice cubes (“on the rocks”). It gets its name from the Old Fashioned cocktail, invented in the 1860s in New York City.

    Old Fashioned glasses are made with a wide brim and a thick base for muddling (source).

    Bottoms up!

      




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