“Bartender, I’ll have a Caipirinha!” may be met with wild eyes and a look of terror as the poor bartender tries to remember how to mix one up, and what the heck even goes into one. It is not only an extremely popular drink in South America, but is in fact Brazil’s national cocktail, so if you don’t know it you should update your dusty recipe book. Don’t feel too bad though, it was largely unknown outside of Brazil, but as cachaca became easier available outside Brazil and with the International Bartenders Association adding it as an official cocktail, it is rapidly rising in popularity north of the border.
If you have somehow found some cachaca in your local shop, there are also a good range of other drinks you can make besides the Caipirinha. Consider having a Brazilian themed party! Turn up the heat, switch on the music, and prepare for a raucous time. This is unlikely to be one of your most sophisticated parties, but luckily most of the cocktails are simple to make. Only a few have specific measures and preparation instructions.
Caipirinha actually refers to ‘someone from the countryside’ in the local language, but the drink has largely taken over this meaning. It is also sometimes used to refer to any drink that is made with cachaca mixed with fruit. However, the main ingredients are 5cl of cachaca, ½ a lime cut into 4 wedges (not green lemon, please), and 2 teaspoons of crystal sugar. Preparation is fairly easy; place the lime and the sugar in an old fashioned glass and use your muddle to mix the ingredients. Fill up the glass with crushed ice and add in the cachaca. Because cachaca is hardly the most readily available spirit, variants are made with vodka, but they are a far cry from the original Caipirinha. You will also find variants that are made in other countries which use their version of cachaca.
Many Brazilian drinks are simply made with cachaca mixed with various fruit juice. This makes for some easy cocktails, and a riotous time. For something more suave you could try creating a Leite de Onca, also known as Jaguar Milk. Take half a part of condensed milk and mix with one part of standard milk until they are well blended. Add one part of cachaca and let it rest for a while. Finally, add one part of cocoa liqueur and garnish with cinnamon or chocolate. This is a really unique drink that may surprise your guests.
A Batida can be made simply by adding 2 parts of cachaca, 1 part of fruit juice, and 1 tablespoon of sugar to a standard zombie glass. Serve it over ice. When you get really stuck, you can make a rabo-de-galo. Translated, this means ‘cock tail’, and can be said to be made from cachaca and red vermouth, but in many places it can simply be an excuse to mix up everything you have in the bar.