Caipirinha & Co: How to make the perfect Caipirinha

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The preparation and quantities are nearly always the same, but by varying the ingredients you can surprise your friends with different types of fruit

The traditional caipirinha, known universally by Brazilians, is made with only a few basic ingredients: 50ml of cachaça, 2 table spoons of sugar, 1 lime and some ice.  Simple enough, but be warned, if you don’t know what you’re doing your cocktail might not go down quite as expected. Preparing the perfect caipirinha is an art, and today we will show you how to be the artist. Let’s get started.

Glass – use a classic tumbler, preferably one that widens from its base to its rim (you fit more in that way).

Lime – it should be medium sized, and not too hard or too soft. The peel should be a rich, green colour, and smooth to the touch. Where possible, use a Brazilian lime. Cut into 8 pieces and remove any white bits, to avoid any bitterness. Place in the glass with the peel faced downwards.

Sugar – opt for white refined sugar. Sprinkle two table spoons over the lime.

Now, in the glass, you need to knead the lime and sugar, so as to squeeze out as much lime juice as possible. You can use a range of implements to do this, but take care not to use too much force and break the coating of the peel (this will release a bitter taste).

Cachaça – any cachaça can be used to prepare a decent caipirinha, but logic dictates that the better the cachaça, the better the taste. Add 50ml to the glass (one regular shot in Brazil, two in the UK).

Mix the ingredients well, adding plenty of ice to ensure your drink hits the mark and quenches your thirst. Now enjoy, you’ve just made the perfect caipirinha!

VARIATIONS

Besides lime you can also use a whole host of other fruits, like tangerine, strawberry, mango, lychee, kiwi, lemon, berries or grapes, but the quantity of sugar you use will depend on the natural sweetness of the fruit. Avoid soft fruits like bananas or papaya as they don’t have the right texture or juice content; you will end up with an alcoholic smoothie! You can also flavour with herbs, by adding a small sprig of mint or basil, or even pepper or ginger. It is best to mix the herbs with the citrus fruits and the pepper or ginger with sweet fruits.

You can also use alcoholic alternatives to cachaça, like vodka (caipiroska) or sake (sakerinha). Vodka goes with any fruit, but the sake shouldn’t be mixed with citrus fruits, but sweeter, more delicate fruits, like grapes or lychees.

All these variations can also be prepared using a cocktail shaker, which will guarantee that all the elements are mixed thoroughly, resulting in a smoother, blended taste.

Cheers!

 

Caipirinha & Co: How to make the perfect Caipirinha

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Luciana Nassif

Lu Nassif, 44, Brazilian, works as an EFL teacher and executive assistant. She believes that a good cachaça, enjoyed responsibly, can brighten up your day.

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