What Is Caipirinha? All About The Famous Brazilian Drink

What Is Caipirinha?

The drinks and typical foods of our country are much more than fuel for our body, they are part of our culture and who we are. This is one of the main reasons why I love to write about my country’s culture. In today’s article, as a good Brazilian, I will tell you exactly What Caipirinha Is.

Caipirinha is a Brazilian drink prepared with only 3 ingredients: lime, sugar, and cachaça, a liquor distilled from fermented sugarcane juice. There are versions of the drink using Rum or Vodka and other fruits, such as strawberry. But the legit Caipirinha is made only with cachaça, lime, and sugar.

The Caipirinha is a national passion, usually consumed on weekends with Feijoada (the most famous Brazilian dish made with beans and pork meat) or with Churrasco (Brazilian Barbecue). But the drink that today is appreciated all over the world may have no being created with this intention. Some say that the drink was created as a treatment for the Spanish Flu in 1918. Crazy, right? Let’s check it out!

The Origins of Caipirinha

Caipirinha is one of the biggest symbols of Brazil. The drink is so important that it was recognized in our legislation as a Brazilian cultural heritage (as well as the cachaça, which is the soul of the caipirinha). But in addition to being delicious and Brazilian cultural heritage, this drink has an incredible history, which may have started in a pandemic more than a century ago.

Like many events in the history of Brazil, there is more than one version, and in the case of the origins of Caipirinha, it’s no different. But let’s start to understand where the drink came from by the two most likely versions and based on documents and research.

A Medicine Created in 1918

The most famous and most interesting version about the origin of Caipirinha is the one that says that the drink was initially created as a medicine and would have been invented by the farmer Paulo Vieira in the city of Piracicaba, in the interior of the state of São Paulo, in 1918, to treat the effects of the Spanish Flu.

In the past, using alcohol in homemade blends to accelerate the effects was quite common. History says that at this time, when some of the farmer Paulo Vieira’s workers fell ill due to an outbreak of Spanish flu, he created a mixture with lemon, garlic and honey, and, instead of the alcohol that was used a lot, he would have put cachaça, which was also widely used.

After some time, someone realized that the mixture was tastier without garlic and honey, that’s what Carlos Lima, executive director of Ibrac (Brazilian Institute of Cachaça) says. “Until one day someone decided to remove the garlic and honey. Then they added a few spoons of sugar to sweeten the drink. The ice came next, to ward off the heat”.

The Other Story of Caipirinha

The academic approach to the origins of Caipirinha brings a second version to the discussion. Some historians declare that the Caipirinha was created by large landowners in Piracicaba (SP), during the 19th century and not as medicine, but as a local drink for large and important celebrations, extolling the strength of the sugarcane culture in the region.

This version of the story suggests that Caipirinha would have been created as a glamorous drink, reserved only for the elite. Some records indicate that for a long time the most famous booze in Brazil was exclusive for very special dates and considered finer than Whiskey and imported wines.

However, from the origin of high class, soon the Caipirinha became popular throughout the State due to the low price of the ingredients to prepare it, becoming the symbol drink of São Paulo in the 19th century. But it did not stop there, at the beginning of the 20th century it was already possible to find the drink in other states, mainly in Minas Gerais and Rio de Janeiro and later all over the country.

How To Make The Perfect Caipirinha

Making the perfect caipirinha takes less than 5 minutes and only 3 ingredients (and ice). Simplicity in preparation is one of the main secrets to make a good Caipirinha. The 3 necessary ingredients are:

  • Lime
  • Cachaça
  • Sugar

For quantities and the preparation method, check the infographic.

How-To-Make-The-Perfect-Caipirinha-Infographic

What Does A Caipirinha Taste Like?

Anyone who has had a good Caipirinha knows how much the drink provides a pleasurable experience, but as Cachaça is still not so common in some countries, many people have doubts about what a real Caipirinha tastes like. It’s hard to describe in words what does Caipirinha tastes like, but I believe I have come up with an excellent description.

A legit Brazilian Caipirinha has a sweet and refreshing taste due to the sugar, ice, and lemon, with a small punch from the Cachaça. When prepared incorrectly, it can be bitter. But the real Caipinha brings the perfect balance between sweetness, acidity, freshness, and alcohol in the right measure.

A good caipirinha has several layers of aromas and flavors, with medium alcohol content and not aggressive to the palate. To achieve this ideal flavor it is very important to use a good cachaça. Cachaças are drinks considered strong, with a content that varies between 38% to 48% of alcohol in their composition.

Despite this, they must not be aggressive drinks for our sense of smell. When you smell a dose of cachaça, you should not feel uncomfortable with the aroma of the drink, but rather perceive sweet perfumes that can refer to wood, vegetables, and fruits.

What Kind of Liquor is Cachaça?

I literally love Cachaça and there excellent options where I live here in Brazil. Cachaça is a drink produced from the distillation of fermented sugar cane juice, also known as “pinga”, “branquinha”, “caninha” or “aguardente”. This is a drink so traditionally Brazilian, that a distillate can only be called Cachaça if it was produced using the sugarcane produced in Brazil.

Cachaça is a typical Brazilian distillate made from sugarcane juice. With alcohol content that can vary from 38 to 48%, it’s considered a strong drink. It’s important to note that a good Cachaça is not aggressive to smell and taste and should be tasted in small sips to be able to feel all layers of flavor.

A good dose of cachaça, served in any type of glass, has very specific characteristics. The first thing to do to identify a good Cachaça is to look at the contents of the glass – which should preferably be transparent – to see if any impurities or particles are found together with the liquid. Cachaça, unlike other beverages such as wine and beer, must always be pure and very white (or golden, in the case of aged cachaças).

After checking the visual appearance, make circular movements with the drink in the glass. It should always run down the sides like oil, a characteristic of its alcoholic concentration. Cachaças that run down the glass too quickly usually do not have good quality.

Despite being strong drinks, Cachaças should not be aggressive drinks for our sense of smell. When you smell a dose of cachaça, you should not feel uncomfortable with the aroma of the drink, but rather perceive sweet perfumes that can refer to wood, vegetables, and fruits. If the aroma of a Cachaça causes you discomfort and a burning sensation, be wary: its quality may not be the best.

What Is The Difference Between A Mojito And Caipirinha?

Caipirinha and Mojito are drinks so similar that I like to call them cousins. But make no mistake: despite the characteristics in common, they are not the same.

The main difference between Mojito and Caipirinha is the distillate used in the mixture. Mojito is prepared with Rum, while Caipirinha takes Cachaça. Also, ingredients are different: Caipirinha takes only Cachaça, Sugar, and Lime. The Mojito takes Rum, Sugar, Lime, Mint leaves, and Sparkling water.

As explained above, the main (and crucial) difference between Mojito and Caipirinha is the fact that the alcohol used in the preparations is not the same. The difference in the manufacture of beverages is that Rum is produced from molasses, which is the cooked juice of sugarcane. Cachaça is made from the fresh juice of the fruit. This difference in preparation may seem insignificant but it drastically affects the taste, making the two drinks quite different.

In addition, the “formula” of the preparations is different. Caipirinha uses only Cachaça, Lemon, and Sugar (and ice). Mojito, despite having a similar base, with Rum, Lemon, and Sugar, also adds to the mixture fresh mint leaves and club soda or sparkling water. When in doubt, have both drinks and draw your own conclusions. It definitely worths the “effort” 🙂

What Is The Name of The Brazilian Drink?

What Is Caipirinha?

Brazil is very famous because of its natural beauty and gastronomic culture. In addition, one of the things that I love the most in my country is that we have excellent drinks around here, with and without alcohol. Still, there is one drink, in particular, that is undoubtedly the biggest highlight in Brazil.

The name of the most Brazilian drink of all is Caipirinha. The drink made from Cachaça, Lime, and Sugar is part of the culture and it is impossible to dissociate it from the image of Brazil. In addition, because of this local importance, Caipirinha was listed by law as a Brazilian cultural heritage.

Brazil is known for having the best coffees (the country is the largest producer and exporter of this grain in the world), excellent fruit juices, and also the famous Guaraná, fruit from which the soft drink with the same name is made of. There is also the good old Cachaça, a Brazilian distillate known internationally that can be consumed pure or in mixed drinks. In fact, it is Cachaça that serves as a base for the most famous of Brazilian drinks: The Caipirinha.

How Do You Pronounce The Brazilian Drink Caipirinha?

I know how difficult it is to pronounce foreign words correctly. Every time I travel to the United States, despite having a good level of English, it always worries me. In this case, it is a pleasure to tell you the correct pronunciation of the word Caipirinha, the most famous drink in my country.

The correct pronounce of the Brazilian Drink Caipirinha is kai-pi-ri-nhuh. But don’t worry if you fail in your pronunciation, most bartenders and waiters will be able to understand your request. Also, if everything else fails, you can just point to the menu of other people with the drink you want.

If it is difficult to communicate, use this post or any Google image on your phone of a Caipirinha and show it to the attendant. He will immediately understand what you want. But honestly, I think you won’t even need it, you will be able to order a Caipirinha without any problems.

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