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caipirinha cocktail

If you’ve ever been to Brazil, there’s a very good chance you’ve downed at least one ice cold glass of the country’s national cocktail: the Caipirinha. The key ingredient is cachaça, a spirit made from fermented sugar cane juice. The resulting liquor is funky and vegetal, with sharp grassy flavors that are balanced by sugar and fresh lime juice.

The Lime

For this recipe, we try to track down the juiciest organic limes we can find. Why organic? Since we’re muddling the fruit and the skins, we want to avoid fruits that have been treated with pesticides. Whether you get organic limes or not, be sure to wash and dry well before cutting.

To cut the lime, remove the ends with a paring knife. Cut the lime in half lengthwise, then lengthwise again so it’s in quarters. If you like, you can remove the center pith (which can be bitter) by resting each quarter flat side down on a cutting board and trimming away the thin white center piece. Cut each quarter in half crosswise for a total of 8 pieces.

The Sugar

Caipirinhas are most commonly made with granulated sugar, but brown sugar works too if you like the molasses-y flavor it brings. No matter which sugar you choose, don’t stop muddling until the sugar crystals are no longer visible—that means they’ve completely dissolved into the citrus juice.

The Cachaça

Since cachaça is the most prominent flavor in Caipirinhas, the brand you choose will greatly affect the final drink. If you’re unfamiliar with the spirit, rely on your local liquor store to help find your perfect match! For first-timers, look for brands with light, fruity flavor profiles. If you dig it, move on to a more strongly flavored chahaça with savory, earthy notes.

Made this? Let us know how it went in the comment section below! 

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Yields: 1
Prep Time: 0 hours 5 mins
Total Time: 0 hours 5 mins

medium lime

2 tsp.

granulated or dark brown sugar

2 oz.


  1. Wash and dry lime well, then cut into 8 wedges. Transfer lime wedges to a rocks glass and add sugar. Using a cocktail muddler or end of a wooden spoon, muddle limes and sugar until juice has been released from limes and sugar has dissolved.
  2. Fill glass with ice, add cachaça, and stir to combine.

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