Caipirinha, fun facts about this Brazilian cocktail

Curious facts about Caipirinha, the Brazilian cachaça-based cocktail created in 1918.

Via GEO magazine

Caipirinha is a cocktail that was born in Brazil in 1918, during the Spanish flu epidemic. Known as a “miracle recipe” among Brazilians, this cocktail was originally composed of lime cachaça, honey and garlic. It is said that this mixture had already been used during the epidemics of scurvy and cholera…

The reality is that over the years, the cocktail became a mixture of lime, powdered sugar, ice and cachaça. And the truth is that it never served as an elixir against diseases, in fact 35,000 people died of Spanish flu.

By the 1920s, the cocktail became a hit in high-class places in large Brazilian cities. In 1994 the cocktail became a select drink on the cocktail list of the International Bartenders Association.

Although there are variants of this cocktail such as Caipiroska (vodka-based) or Sakerinha (sake-based) or even Caipirissima (rum-based), Brazilian purists defend its original recipe: only add cachaça.


What is Cachaça ?

Cachaça is an alcohol that has been distilled in Brazil for 500 years and has a controlled denomination of origin. In older times, cachaça was a symbol of resistance to the Portuguese colonists, who tried unsuccessfully to banish it in favor of their wine.

Five steps to make Cachaça

  1. Plant and harvest the sugar cane in tropical and subtropical climates
  2. Press the sugar cane
  3. Fermentation: converting sugars into alcohol
  4. Distillation
  5. Resting or Aging

Learn more here about the cachaça production process.


How to prepare a Caipirinha

The ultimate summer cocktail, the caipirinha is one of the most refreshing drinks you can make. It’s the perfect introduction for anyone new to cachaça and a great way to explore and compare different brands.

Plus, it can serve as inspiration for many other tasty drinks.

Requires only three ingredients: cachaça, lime and sugar. Like the old-fashioned and the mojito, this is a muddled cocktail, although the alcohol of choice here is cachaça.

To make this cocktail you will need the following ingredients. It is important to take into account the final alcohol content, between 20 and 25º.

Caipirinha: Photo David Catania


Lime cut into quarters

Four tablespoons of powdered sugar (brown or white)

Crushed ice

60 ml of cachaça

Type of glass: rocks

Preparation: with a mortar, crush the lemon with the sugar. Add the ice and then the 60 ml of cachaça. Stir gently and prevent it from becoming too watery.

*Good to know: For Brazilians, a Caipirinha is not just limited to lime but can be made with pineapple, mango, passion fruit, kiwi, papaya, etc. And they don’t add these fruits to the lime, but replace them with the lime, resulting in a much sweeter drink.


Can I use rum to make a Caipirinha?

You can substitute light rum if you can’t find cachaca.

You can also create fun twists of this drink using:

  • Vodka (Caipiroska)
  • Tequila
  • Sake (Sakerinha)
  • Add fruit in addition to the lime (Caiprifruta)


Don’t drink and drive. Enjoy responsibly.


Join the community on Reddit

Spirits Hunters is a community dedicated to spirits and the world of mixology. Feel free to talk about the world of mixology and bartending here!