The caipirinha is Brazil’s national cocktail but can actually be adjusted to any countries national alcohol. Its birth was in Sao Paulo and actually started out as a medicinal drink with garlic and honey but later evolved into the Caipirinha that we know today, without garlic and honey but refreshing and the perfect cocktail to ward off the heat.
The classic version is made from a distilled alcoholic beverage, which like rum is sugarcane derived but called cachaça. Although I first tried it in South America (n Argentina) and then after in Brazil it is now well known through out the world as good qualities of cachaça have become more readily available.
This is very simple to make, as it requires very little ingredients. You can make it by the glass or by the pitcher, although I prefer it by the glass. A good quality cachaça can also be purchased at a reasonable price, which makes it perfect for parties.
So let’s get to the fun part, making and enjoying the Brazilian cocktail! Be careful, although delicious they are quite strong. Adjust the juice to alcohol ratios according to your personal taste.
For more creative cocktail ideas, check out this article on savvy apple/booze creation combos.
- 1 large juicy lime per cocktail More if the limes are not very juicy or small. Purchase the soft ones but not overly ripe, these are the juicy ones. Try and get seedless if you can and roll them on the kitchen counter with your hand before cutting. Of course wash then well first.
- 1 bottle Good quality cachaça. You can keep it in the freezer to make the cocktails extra cold and nice.
- Organic granulated white sugar. You can also try brown sugar but I prefer white.
- Ice Either from your freezer or buy the big bags of ice, which are larger cubes. Use good water for your ice cubes rather than tap water.
- Cut lime in half and then into quarters or more depending on how large it is and put into the old fashioned glass.
- Add anywhere from 2.3 tablespoons of sugar depending on how sweet you like your cocktail.
- Regarding the old fashioned class you can rim it with sugar if you like or not. Some people don’t like the extra sweetness or stickiness but some do so again, prepare according to personal taste. Either is delicious.
- Muddle (mash) the lime, which will press out the juices from the inside of the lime as well as the natural sweet lime oils from the skin. Be sure and press both, this is important to the fragrance and taste of the cocktail.
- Add enough ice to fill the glass, and if the ice cubes are small leave them whole but if they are the large type crack them before putting them in.
- Fill glass nearly to the rim with cachaça.
- Pour into metal cocktail shaker and close tightly. Shake until condensation forms on the outside of the shaker. That way you know it’s very cold.
- Pour back into the same glass and serve immediately and enjoy!
You'll also need a cocktail shaker and a mudler, or something to mash the lime with.
About Lori Jo Hendrix
Lori was born in southern California and currently resides in Mexico. She is an actress and model who also writes in the fields of nutrition, wellness, and cuisine. Her passions include working as a volunteer with various groups in the rescue and rehabilitation of orphaned and injured animals.
41 thoughts on “Caipirinha: Brazil’s National Cocktail”
This looks delicious, but are there any decent alternatives to cachaça? You mentioned that it is similar to rum because of the sugar cane, but can you use rum instead? Or would that be too much like a lime rickey?
Yes there are many variations, almost every country has their own. The most common variation is the Caipiroska which is the same recipe but using vodka. Yes, you can use rum instead and that would be a Caipiríssima. Here are some other variations.
Caipisake (made with sake of course)
Caipiroska Negra (made with black vodka)
Caipifruta (made with fruits instead of lemon or lime)
CaipirItaly (made with Campari)
You can make variations of them with just about anything!
Oh thank for for the alternatives! Would have to drive an hour into the city to score a bottle of Leblon Cachaça. Seems very refreshing. Probably mix it up and put out 4 different sugars for people to make their drinks with.
You are welcome! I have not tried that Cachaça, I wonder if I can find it here? What types of sugars?
Last summer, the caipirinha was pretty much everywhere on TV since the World Cup was held in Brazil. I had not even heard of this cocktail before then. It looks very refreshing and just the thing to enjoy in the summer.
Yes it is and so easy to make, you must try it. One of the things I like about it is it’s not too soft or too hard. It’s just right!
You can add more juice if it’s too strong or less if not strong enough. You can also tailor the sweetness to your taste.
Yeah I never heard of it until then either. I wish I had before, I have a lot of events I host in the summer. Too bad it’s winter now, but I’m sure that I can still find time to create and enjoy one to test it out. This page has a ton of good ideas!
As long as your event is indoors no reason not to enjoy it even in the winter. I know I do! So many drinks are cold that is is sort of hard finding things to serve that are not. I am sure your guests will love them even in winter!
This sounds and looks like a delicious drink to make. I love the idea of just making one glass of it. I usually don’t really go for “lime” drinks, but this looks like it will taste so good. Can’t wait to make it.
Try it, I am sure you will like it. The sugar makes it not too limey. You can also use lemons if you prefer or some of the variations I mentioned above.
I just adore anything with lime in it!
I’ve never come across this drink before, probably because I don’t usually drink cocktails, but I could be persuaded after reading this. It’s a lovely combination of flavours, and I imagine it’s very refreshing on a summer’s evening in the garden.
Definitely going to try this a bit later in the year – bookmarked!
If you are not a cocktail person you will still enjoy this drink because it’s not too cocktaily (not a real work but the only way I can think of describing what I am trying to say, haha) if you know what I mean. It is sure enough to please the classic cocktail lover or the beer or wine drinker.
Oh yes, summer evening in the garden sipping a Caipirinha is definitely a treat, nice by the beach as well!
Am just licking my lips in anticipation, looks like the ultimate thirst quencher, or a lazy drink to pass time on a wistful weekend afternoon..am definitely making this cocktail one of this fine days and invite one or two friends to sample out, i cross my fingers hoping i ace it out, thankfully the wistful mood on that eventful weekend afternoon will be drowned out 😉
Hahaha, I agree with every thing you say and don’t worry about acing it out, it’s very simple to make. Oh and about mood, for some reason I find this drink or cocktail one of the most relaxing I have tried. The effect is just like nirvana, hehe.
I’ve also tried this one in Brazil before, and it tasted a little bit like a margarita. It’s a very fun and tasty drink; something my wife will definitely enjoy. Most guys, eh, not so much. Although alcohol and sugar are very comparable chemically, I’m just not used to sweet drinks and would much rather prefer a bourbon or scotch on the rocks.
Most guys I know love this cocktail but you can always add less sugar and ice to make it stronger. Let me know how your wife likes them! Cheers!
Ah, cocktail drinks! How I miss thee^^
Looking at this concoction, I think this is something I will enjoy (if I resume drinking!)
I’m not familiar with cachaca nor do I know if it’s available in my country. Anyway, I think the ‘vodka’ variation will definitely work for me. Unfortunately, doctor’s orders – No Alcohol!!
What country are you in?
Maybe I can post a nice non-alcoholic beverage, there are so many cocktail like drinks that have no alcohol, very similar to this with mint or basil leaves. Would you like that?
I would love to see some recipes for non-alcoholic beverages that are similar to cocktails! I’m such a huge fan of cocktails but I’m not a huge fan of the alcohol that comes along with it.
Funnily enough, the last time I had a drink was when Brazil lost against Germany in the world cup. And if I’m not mistaken, it was that very Caipirinha cocktail! I loved the taste of lime in it.
Sure, I will try and get some non alcoholic recipes up. There are some that are very similar to mojitos and lemony as is the Caipirinha. Yes, that is funny, I think a lot of Caipirinhas were consumed on that day!
One of the best alcoholic drinks that I’ve ever had! It is very easy to make and very easy to find the ingredients needed.
Although this is a bit sugary for my tastes so I put less sugar in it whenever I make some.
I feel the same way! I love the way I can tailor the sweetness of each drink, I simply ask the person I am making it for if they prefer strong (alcohol wise), weak (alcohol wise), sweet or tart. These are very easy to customize.
I agree and that is why I love them so much. Also the variety of ways you can make them. A friend taught me that if you cut the white parts out of the inside of the lime (or lemon) that the drink is softer. As you know the white little strips on the inside of all citrus is rather bitter. We tried it and he was right, it tasted soft just like lemonade! Kind of dangerous though as you can drink many that way, hahaha!
Thanks for the new recipe! I was getting a bit bored with my current selection of alcohol that I could make for the the summer. My neighbor talked a lot about this drink but when I heard the name, all I could remember was that there was a catchy meme going around on YouTube that shared the name. I do like that the drink can be made in different ways, but most importantly, it can be made sweet. Since I’m trying to cut down on my sugar intake, I was thinking of using agave sugar instead of the regular kind and see how it comes out along with papaya and starfruit instead of lime.
Yes you can change it up anyway you like. Please let me know how the agave sugar turns out and you can always make it with less sugar. You do not have to make it super sweet and it is still delicious.
Interesting, I think I will have to try this. I don’t think I’ve ever had a cocktail with lime in it. If you want to try this and you can’t find it in a local liqueur store. Maybe on=line you can buy it and have it shipped. You could make it yourself at home probably. Seems to be a lot of articles and videos on that.
When I look at this cocktail I want to throw some tequila in there or sapphire gin. I’d have to taste it to know if either one of those would work.
You know why this one is popular, because it is strong. Not much mixer in this one.
You can use lemon if lime is not available where you are. Did you know in Mexico we have no lemons, just limes? Isn’t that strange? Yes, try it with different things, this recipe is very versatile and I have to admit one of the reasons I do like it is because it is strong. I am not one for sweet and weak drinks. If you are going to have a drink, make it worth while, hahaha 😉
Caipirinha my favourite cocktail limeade! What a real treat it is, especially in this warm weather! I really like that you focused on a drink that is a little less known and from another country, you can make it a theme now! I would love to learn (and to taste let’s be honest) drinks from different countries. Especially if they are as delicious as this one! Lovely article, hope I see more of them
Hi Ana Beaumont,
Thank you! I was thinking the same thing. Now that I am in Mexico I need to so some tequila cocktails and mescal as well as write about the proper way to drink them straight vs. the tourist way. That would be a lot of fun! Do you like the idea of Mexican drinks? Does everybody else? Please feel free to chime in.
Hi Ana Beaumont,
It is one of my favorites as well! They turn out so nice here in Mexico with the huge bright green and juicy limes they have here without seeds! I am working on a non alcoholic cocktail recipe right now but I should do some Mexican cocktail recipes while I am here, great idea!
Just as a well prepared meal I love a well prepared cocktail. The Caipirinha is simply that great cocktail that you must have once a year. I find the traditional recipe somewhat bitter and as your friend taught you I carefully cut out the white parts of the lemons inside. I do have a little secret for this cocktail too and it consists in adding some Sprite or any lemon soft drink you have in your country. It really enhances the flavor if you don’t want to have a really strong drink. Just for anyone who hasn’t had a Caiprinha yet, it’s a very strong cocktail because the original recipe only asks for a few drops of lemon. When taking a classic caipirinha I really love getting to the last four- five sips because that’s when the ingredients really mix up.
Once a year only? Hehehehehehe, one needs to enjoy then more than once a year! 😉
So you also cut out the white parts! Excellent and it does make a difference, just as with other fruits and vegetables. I like the idea of adding a lemon flavored soft drink, the bubbles and the flavor would definitely be great. This can be a strong drink if you are not used to it and this is a perfect way to adjust this drink to those that are not used to strong drinks. Thank you for the tip and I will be using it!
My boyfriend and I recently went to Disney World at Epcot for the Food and Wine festival they had there. They had small samples of food and drinks from all around the world set up in little huts throughout the park. In Brazil, this drink was one that they had, and also that I sampled, their version was frozen and it was absolutely amazing!
It was an awesome day with good people and friends, and this drink aided in the experience, I cannot wait to try this drink recipe and be transported back to that nostalgic yummy day!
So glad you had fun at Disney World!
Do you mean the drink was frozen like a frozen margarita or a frozen daiquiri? That would be strange to me because for me the classic is as my recipe is above, with a few cubes of ice and not blended in a blender and served frozen.
But by all means you can also do it this way. It will be softer (not classic) but will still be good and for those that prefer frozen drinks, perfect. A little more trouble than just shaking withs some ice cubes but not too difficult!
Yum yum yum! This recipe spoke to me, as I am currently traveling in South America and just love a good caipirinha! I’ve only ever ordered one at the bar, so I’m super excited to try and make some of this refreshing beverage on some hot evening…or afternoon… or hey, let’s be real, I’ll probably enjoy some morning caipirinhas during my trip as well. Thanks for the easy recipe!
Hahahaha, I am glad you want to try the recipe at home! No need to wait until you are in South America! I have to admit, I am guilty of having left over caipirinha ingredients in my kitchen from Saturnday night and then on the folllowing Sunday, sleeping in late and thinking, what the heck, I’ll have a caipe with lunch, ahahahaha.
Have fun on your next trip to South America!
Such a simple drink! What helps it ward off the heat? I’ve never had Cachaça before so not exactly sure how it tastes. I think it would be very cool to see more post like this in the future! About other countries popular and well known alcoholic beverages! It would kind of be like ethnic alcohol!
I think it is the ice that makes it ward off the heat and the lime juice which is refreshing. I can’t explain Cachaça very well but I would say it is similar to Vodka but sweeter as it is made of sugar cane but not too sweet. It is a strong alcohol just as vodka or any other hard alcohol is but for some reason the sugar and lime and the Cachaça flavor mixed all together and you do not really notice how strong it is so that makes it very refreshing. Also it is from Brazil which is very hot and humid so drinks created there are created for the climate.
If you like the idea of ethic drinks and alcohol I am currently living in Mexico City and would love to write an article about our tequila and our mescal, including recipes or instructions on how to drink them straight or mixed as a cocktail.
This sounds very refreshing and I’m sure it will be become even more popular with the Olympic Games taking place in Brazil this summer.
What sort of snacks would one serve with this drink? Fruity or salty?
I would serve salty. Salty and sweet is always a good combo.
What a pity I didn’t read this recipe a month ago so we could have enjoyed it during the Rio Olympics! But I think it will be nice to try it over summer – and our friend’s lime tree is fruiting well s we can make truly fresh drinks!
I’ve never heard of that drink but will see if I can find it, otherwise I’ll probably go with vodka…