Summer Games-Worthy Twists on the Caipirinha


If you haven’t tried a Caipirinha—that beautiful, Brazilian amalgam of lime, sugar and cachaça—kindly step out from the rock under which you’ve been living.

The ultra-simple yet complexly delicious drink is a near perfect summertime sipper, and with the Rio de Janeiro Olympic Games almost underway, the drink is more appropriate than ever. If you want to get the most out of your couch-bound Rio 2016 viewing experience, start by mastering the classic recipe (which, thankfully, is much easier to learn than ribbon dancing or pole vaulting). Then, like an Olympiad falling into a graceful swan dive, spread your metaphorical cocktail wings and go Caipirinha crazy with added liqueurs, fruits and spices.

These three recipes from New York bartending pros are a great place to kickstart your cachaça-fueled journey—and they’ll make even the tamest of events (badminton, really?) more exciting.

Head bartender Shawn Chen of RedFarm and Decoy in New York City took the classic Caipirinha to new heights by adding ginger liqueur, tarragon and lychee nuts. The sweet-spicy-herbal additions tone down the Caipirinha’s signature tartness, making it dangerously easy to gulp.

The Essentials

Ginger Liqueur
Half a Fresh Lime
If you like your sporting events with a hint of danger (those fencing epees are sharper than they look), then this is the potentially spicy drink for you. Created by Richard Woods, the head of cocktail and spirit development for NYC’s Sushisamba, it calls for shishito peppers, which, while mostly mild, occasionally pack some heat. If you’re willing to gamble, this deliciously fresh take on the Caipirinha will reward you with thirst-quenching vegetal flavors.

The Essentials

shishito peppers
This Caipirinha is bananas—no, really. Created by Johnny Swet, owner and mixologist at JIMMY at the James in New York, it uses both a tangy banana-lime puree and banana liqueur. Made with oak-aged cachaça and a hint of chocolate aromatics, it’s a sweet-earthy closing ceremony of a cocktail.

The Essentials

banana liqueur
banana-lime puree

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