Known for its iconic carnival festival and its talented soccer players, Brazil has an essential drink that you should know.

Caipirinha (kai-purr-REEN-yah) is the national drink of Brazil. The popular South American drink is quite simple to make. It’s a favorite worldwide and should be on every bartender’s cocktail list. Caipirinha is refreshing and light, perfect for the upcoming warm weather. It’s also a great drink for anyone new to cachaça.

Requiring a few ingredients: cachaça, lime, and sugar, a caipirinha is similar to a mojito. Cachaça is a distilled spirit made from sugar cane juice. It’s often referred to as a Brazilian rum, and it’s the countries national spirit. And while it was listed as rum when first imported to the U.S. out of convivence, Cachaça was most likely created before rum. It’s credited by many historians as Latin America’s first distilled spirit.

The main difference between the two is rum is often distilled from sugar by-products like molasses, while Cachaça is distilled from freshly pressed sugar cane juice. Rum can spend time in used bourbon barrels, and Cachaça rests in native wood, giving it a more vegetal and rawer flavor.

All in all, this summertime cocktail is something that you’ll see people sipping if you find your way to Brazil or South America in general. The nice thing about this drink is it can be constructed right in the glass. The drink calls for finely granulated sugars muddled with lime wedges. Muddling allows the release of not only the fruit juice but the aromatic oils from the peel itself.

Even though a Caipirinha is perfect on its own, many bartenders have created their version of this beloved drink. If you want to keep it classic, here is our favorite way to make it.

Caipirinha

Caipirinha

Caipirinha

Ingredients:

  • 1 Lime (cut into wedge)
  • 2 tsp. Finely Granulated Sugar
  • 2 oz. Cachaça

Preparation: In a rocks glass, muddle the sugar and lime wedges together. Fill the glass with ice, add the Cachaça, and stir. Garnish with a lime wedge.