Sipping a Caipirinha truly makes you feel like a Brazilian, if only for a short time. The fresh lime flavor, sweetness and grassy flavor of the cachaça meld in to a truly wonderful drink. The flavor is extremely refreshing, not unlike a slightly alcoholic limeade. Not to mention these drinks are exceedingly drinkable. That said, as I discussed earlier in the week muddling this drink really is key to the flavor profile. As is granulated sugar rather than simple syrup. The muddling action extracts some of the oils from the lime peel which are then infused into the resulting cocktail. This changes the drink in the same way that a flamed orange peel or a lemon twist.
So, what about the choice of sugar? I began my week using plain white sugar which worked very well. Feeling that I might be able to change it up a bit I tried using demerara instead. This helped to deepen the natural sugar flavors that the cachaça brings to the party. There is one downside to this choice though. Since the demerara sugar adds additional flavor it can mask subtle flavors in the cachaça. So, given that I’d say give it a try but make sure you choose a cachaça with a bold enough flavor to stand up to the demerara.
Although there are a few recipes for the Caipirinha floating around most of them seem to follow the same general formula. Namely: 1 oz cachaca, 1/4 lime (cut in to two wedges), and 1 tsp sugar. Some recipes, Gary Regan’s for example, call for three ounces of cachaça. That’s going to make for a pretty hefty cocktail and since these go down very easy it could get out of hand pretty quickly. With that in mind my suggested recipe cuts back the cachaça to only two ounces, but keeps the formula the same. I highly suggest you mix one up and enjoy the carioca life. Even if it is fleeting.
Caipirinha (Cocktail Hacker)
2 oz Cachaça 1/2 Lime (4 wedges) 2 tsp Sugar
1) Muddle lime and sugar until sugar is dissolved 2) Add cachaça and cracked ice 3) Stir until well combined