The caçacha cocktail, the Caipirinha, has risen to global fame over the last few years thanks to an increased interest in and availability of caçhaca outside of Brazil. The cocktail’s name is derived from a Portuguese pejorative term used to describe working class folk—caipira—which loosely translates to “hillbilly.” But the people of Brazil take no umbrage with the name—they’re too busy enjoying the grassy, citrusy mix of caçhaca, lime and sugar, built directly into the glass. The drink’s history is murky, but most Brazilians agree that the Caipirinha got its start as a 19th century folk remedy for cholera and the Spanish flu (some traditionalists still swear by the cocktail as a cure-all). We’re not sure about the drink’s medical merits, but we can vouch for its undeniable thirst quenching properties.
Mix it Up
There's a whole bunch of things you can do to the Caipirinha. There is an old Brazilian adage, which says that the worse the cachaça, the better the Caipirinha. But we love aged cachaça in a Caipirinha, with some demerara sugar in place of white sugar for a richer, warm flavor. Caipirinhas are also excellent canvases for seasonal fruit and produce. Try muddling plump, sweet-tart blackberries or mango chunks along with the lime, or add fresh ginger for a spicy kick.
Recommended Cachaças: Avuá, Novo Fogo, Pitú, Leblon
In Brazil, omitting a Caipirinha from a cocktail menu is tantamount to heresy. The three-ingredient drink made with cachaça, lime and sugar is the country’s national cocktail. But the ubiquitous drink wouldn’t truly be a classic without a inspiring a few important variations. The most popular is the Caipiroska—a drink made in the exact...