Weekly Cocktail #16: The Caipirinha / Cherry-Lime Caipirinha

Cherry-lime caipirinha.

Our friend Alicia over at Boozed + Infused (a great blog on homemade booze) recently posted on the concept of “gartending”. As you might expect, gartending means you are making cocktails with ingredients from your garden. So now that it has a name, we can say that we have been happily gartending for some time. One reason we like cocktails as much as we do is that we can quickly enjoy the fruit and herbs from the garden in drinks. It is always fun to enjoy the fruits of your labor, and if you get to add a bit of booze…so much the better.

As we noted earlier this week, we are happily harvesting cherries. We are eating them out of hand, mostly, and will be baking this weekend, but once we picked them our thoughts went to cocktails. And we made a cherry-lime caipirinha. And it was good. Very good. Good enough that we decided to post the recipe.

Cherry-lime caipirinha and ingredients.

The caipirinha is the national drink of Brazil. It is a simple, but delightful, combination of cachaca, limes and sugar. You simply muddle about 1/2 a lime with a few teaspoons of sugar to get the juice and oils from the limes and then add cachaca and ice. While the process is simple, you get a very tasty, complex cocktail that is perfect for summer. And keeping in the spirit of Brazil, there are few rules with the Caipirinha. It is quite acceptable to add in or change the fruit or even the base spirit and still call the drink a caipirinha. And since we had cherries and we like them with limes, the cherry-lime caipirinha was not far behind.

If you are unfamiliar with cachaca, it is basically “Brazilian rum” but it is made from sugar cane juice rather than molasses (rum agricole, made from cane syrup is somewhere between cachaca and rum). Cachaca has an overt sugar cane flavor with some heat from the alcohol and what most would call “musty” and grassy notes. That may not sound all that good, but it works well in cocktails, particularly with fruit-driven recipes. We enjoy cachaca in cocktails like the Rose Pearl, but it does mostly end up in caipirinhas during the summer.

As for the caipirinha, the name itself loosely translates to “country-bumpkin” or “hillbilly”. And if you have a few of these your behavior certainly might “deteriorate” somewhat. The caipirinha is a great drink, the only real downside is that it is mostly booze, but goes down very, very easy. Sometimes you want to enjoy a caipirinha but not act like one, if you know what we mean…;-) Consider yourself warned and happy Friday!

The Caipirinha / Cherry-Lime Caipirinha

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 large lime, cut into quarters
  • 4 cherries, pitted and cut in half (optional)
  • 2 teaspoons, or more, granulated sugar
  • 2 or 3 oz. cachaca
  • Ice

Assemble:

  1. Muddle the fruit and sugar in a cocktail glass. Add the cachaca and stir. Pour the mixture into a lowball glass and add a lot of ice. Mix and serve.
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22 thoughts on “Weekly Cocktail #16: The Caipirinha / Cherry-Lime Caipirinha

  1. Reblogged this on eat like you give a damn and commented:
    Happy Friday! What better way to prepare for the weekend then a new cocktail recipe?

    The caiphriniha is one of my favorite cocktails. Its just sweet enough, just sour enough, and tastes fresh, when made right.

    Enhance the classic recipe with this fresh and fruity version!

  2. I bought a bottle of cachaca when I ran out of the Cacique I bought in Costa Rica. I kind of thought that since both were made from sugar cane that the taste would be similar. It wasn’t, and then I couldn’t figure out what to do with the cachaca so I got rid of it. Now I wish I hadn’t! This sounds really good!

  3. Could do with one just now … have just watched a horror movie that was so bad. *smile
    Not a big lover of Rum, has been a bit drunk it many years ago in New York and had to get up a ladder hanging outside an 11 deck high container ship. But if I can drink Mojitos I’m sure I can drink this. Love the look and the read of it.

  4. We used to try and make Caipirinhas and even used the same brand of cachaca in your photo. For some reason we couldn’t get the sugar to alcohol to lime ratio correct to make it taste good. We’ll have to give it another go and try this recipe!

    • Thanks for reading. The Leblon is a well-rated but very divisive version of cachaca. It is mustier and grassier than most (other brands vary quite a bit). Playing with raw or demerara sugar or persian vs. key limes will make a difference- if that helps.

      Rhum agricole is a decent substitute for cachaca. The drink will technically be Ti’ Punch at that point, but it will still be good…

  5. I might have to try that. ‘Gartending’ (can’t say I like the word, but I love the concept) is a marvellous combination of hobbies, and you guys are placed beautifully to do so.

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