Caipirinha, caipirissima, caipiroska

by Stevi on April 4, 2010

in BarSmarts,Rum

I’ve written about the caipirinha before, but I’m happy to write about it again, because it’s a great drink.




2 ounces cachaça
1 1/2 barspoon sugar or 3/4 ounce simple syrup
1/2 lime, quartered

Build in glass: add lime and sugar to an old fashioned glass. Muddle well. Fill glass with ice. Top with cachaça. Give quick stir to incorporate.

Using a shaker: in shaker, muddle lime and sugar. Fill old fashioned glass with ice, add ice to shaker. Add cachaça, shake well, pour back into old fashioned glass.

If you substitute rum, you have a caipirissima. If you substitute vodka, you have a caipiroska. If I have other fruit on hand, I will usually muddle that in as well, to add even more layers of flavor.

Do take it easy on the sugar. You can always add a little more in, especially if you’re using simple syrup. Be sure to let the wonderful grassy flavor of the cachaça shine through.

Personally, I prefer to build it in the glass. I don’t really see how building in the shaker is any faster, but I hear it referred to as the “bartender way.”

No matter what way you make it, you must always muddle to get the flavor of the lime zest in your drink. If you use straight lime juice, you’re making a daiquiri. And you must always take it easy, because this is a casual fun drink.

In the BarSmarts video, David Wondrich shows a new-to-me method for preparing the lime. I’ve usually just cut in in half through the equator, and cut each hemisphere into quarters.

Instead, he recommends cutting it half through the poles after removing the tops, then removing the central pith, then cutting the lime into six parts. While this method takes a little longer, I think it gives more pleasing results, both in the glass and in the mouth.

What’s your favorite way to prepare a caipirinha?

{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

Brian Place April 4, 2010 at 6:55 pm

I literally just watched the same video about an hour ago – that lime prep method was new to me too. Have to go try it now. :)


Tony Harion April 4, 2010 at 9:36 pm

I prefer to build it in a glass and always use sugar instead of simple.

This allows me (or guests) to stir in and dissolve only as much sugar as they wish. Here in Brazil people tend to use way too much sugar for my taste so this little touch is well appreciated. When you shake it you dissolve the whole thing and if the bartender has a heavy hand for sugar you have to stick with it.

As you said, you can always add more sugar if desired.

I played a lot with removing the central pith and don’t really think it´s that necessary when you cut your fruit to order. The cut Mr Wondrich shows is very traditional around here and its worth knowing. I generally go for wedges or big cubes. Some people disagree and prefer to stick to the traditional, but side by side I doubt its noticeable when using fresh fruits.

Sometimes I often see people cutting their lime in very small pieces, not something I really recommend. The smaller the pieces the more loose pieces you have to clog a straw or get in your way.



Keith Lewis April 6, 2010 at 6:13 pm

I can attest to the “cut the ends/halve the lime/remove the pith/cut into smaller pieces” technique. That’s exactly how I was shown to make a caipiriña by a bartender in the Jardins neighborhood in São Paulo a few years ago. She insisted that the pith would make the drink bitter. Brazilian “limão” is actually a bit less bitter than our lime anyhow. When I make them here at home (I’ve managed to bring back 36 cachacas over the years…yum) I muddle an entire small lime in an 8 oz. glass very hard with a full 2 tablespoons of fine baking sugar (a Brazilian would never use simple syrup. Any undissolved sugar in the bottom dissolves as the ice melts and you fiddle with the drink). I then fill the glass with crushed ice and then fill to the brim with caçhaca, stir vigorously and enjoy!! (BTW my boyfriend, who is Brazilian, thinks that a caipirinha made with American limes tastes more authentic if you also remove about a third of the rind from the lime before you cut it.)


scomorokh April 7, 2010 at 10:23 am

Wow! Great name of the post :)

My way to make and drink the Caipirinha is here. Last summer the Caipirinha, Caipirissima or Caipiroska was fovorite drinks my and my friends.

Cheers! –scomorokh


Tiare July 4, 2010 at 8:57 am

I haven´t tried that way of cutting the lime, i will definetily do that.



Heath October 28, 2010 at 7:44 am

If you were serving Caipiroska’s at a party, but were concerned that the drink could be too strong, what would you do to cut it? Do you think adding club soda, or lime juice, or lemon-lime soda would ruin the drink? What proportions would you use?


Stevi October 28, 2010 at 10:22 am

Heath, I frequently add club soda to my caipirinhas, maybe 4-5 ounces. You’re moving closer to a mojito at that rate, but there’s nothing wrong with that!


Leah June 14, 2013 at 10:25 am

When i make my Caipiroska i do this:
I get my old fashioned glass and my short straw, yes…i need my straw :P I cut a lime into 6 and chuck it in the glass. I don’t use sugar, but when i have i just use 1 tsp of white sugar. Muddle that, then add 2 measures of vodka and throw in four halved ice cubes. Top with soda water and throw a napkin underneath, otherwise it’s condensation station :)
One of my favourite drinks. But you have to be careful when ordering at a bar. You don’t want it made in a shaker :C


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