making a caipirinha

By now I’ve drank more than my fair share of Brazil’s national cocktail, as Jill and Hotch assured me I would. I even got a quick lesson in making my own in Foz do Iguazu. Although we’ve left Brazil, the caipirinha follows us to Uruguay and hopefully onwards. In Paraty we crowded the dinner table in anticipation one evening and had a full demonstration by an unwilling caipirinha creator, so I thought I’d share the process in pictures in case you have a craving. Or rather, to make sure that you do.

You’ll need shitloads of limes. Cut into quarters and get rid of the line of white pith inside so they squeeze more easily. Fill your biggest kitchen pan and mash them up with a cachaca bottle (that’s the spirit you’ll need) until you have a lot of juice. The lime juice is the only liquid in the caipirinha other than the cachaca and melting ice (if you need incentive to mash harder).

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Add so much sugar that you run out. Buy another bag and use most of that too. The sugar cuts through the alcohol making the caipirinha deliciously diabetic-ally drinkable, so add even more.

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Add a sack of ice and crush with the cachaca bottle. Liberally pour on cachaca. If you think you’ve added enough, you haven’t. This is no vat of Wetherspoons’ Woo Woo. Consider yourself lucky, the only reason we’re able to handle the caipirinha’s potency is because we’re unfamiliar with the delicious cachaca flavour. We are free of cachaca induced regret (well, I was). You can try with rum or vodka, but I would personally keel over.

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Mix. Try it. It should be citrusy sweet and strong. Drink with people who were strangers this morning and your breath will soon be flammable and your heart happy.

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The caipirinha I got to make myself was just in a short tumbler and needed 1 lime and all the juice it would yield, 2-2.5 tablespoons of sugar depending on your stomach, 2-3 cubes of ice and a good couple of measures of cachaca. Make it strong and the ice will quickly melt in the Brazilian heat, lessening the punch. Alternatively, drink it in Manchester and watch the drink turn to ice too.

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