Fun to say, fun to drink
Learn to mix the caipirinha, which is the national Brazilian cocktail.
Cachaça (kah-SHAH-sah), the national spirit of Brazil, is made from fresh-pressed, unprocessed sugarcane juice. Brazil makes 800 million liters of the clear liquor annually, and although we only see a few brands here in the U.S., there are over 5,000 available in Brazil.
It has oft been mislabeled or misunderstood in America as rum, but in 2013 an agreement was signed between the U.S. and Brazilian governments to recognize the spirit as a distinctive Brazilian product. White rum is made from processed cane, but the unprocessed juice used to make cachaça gives the spirit a grassier, more herbaceous funk. Adding to that funk, there are more than 2,000 nicknames for it, including abre-coração (heart-opener), água-benta (holy water), bafo-de-tigre (tiger breath) and limpa-olho (eyewash).
Cachaça is the main ingredient in the caipirinha (ki-pee-REEN-yah), which also is the national Brazilian cocktail and just as fun to say. A cousin to the margarita, the caipirinha has only three ingredients and takes little more than some arm strength (for muddling) to make.
Makes 1 cocktail
1 teaspoon white sugar (granulated or superfine)
2 ounces cachaça
Slice the lime into ½-inch rounds, cube them, and muddle in a rocks glass with the sugar. Add cachaça and a couple of ice cubes. Stir and serve.