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The Caipirinha is Brazil’s national drink and uniquely refreshing! This cocktail made with cachaça and lime is truly one of a kind.

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If you haven’t tried a Caipirinha, well: you haven’t lived! Yes, the national drink of Brazil is just that good. In fact, it’s one of our top cocktails here at A Couple Cooks because there’s truly nothing like it. It’s made with cachaça, a liquor made of sugar cane, which tastes like a funky version of rum. Combine that with lime, sugar and lots of ice, and you’ve got one of the uniquely refreshing beverages on the planet. Come, let us show you how to make one!

What’s a Caipirinha?

The Caipirinha is the national drink of Brazil, made with cachaça liquor, lime and sugar. It’s pronounced “Kai-pir-reen-yah” and means “little peasant girl.” The exact history behind the drink is pretty murky. Some people think it emerged around 1918 as a cure for the Spanish flu (though that recipe had lemon, garlic and honey…a bit different!). Whatever the case, it’s become massively popular today all over the world.

This cocktail is on the list of International Bartender Association’s IBA official cocktails, meaning that it has an “official” definition. The ingredients in a Caipirinha are:

  • Cachaça
  • Sugar
  • Lime wedges
How to make a Caipirinha

What is cachaça? Is it worth buying?

The only way to make a Caipirinha is with Cachaça. Do not even ask about a substitute! (You can, however, substitute vodka in a Caipirinha to make it a Caipiroska!) Is it worth buying up a bottle of the stuff? Here’s what to know:

  • Cachaça is a liquor made from sugar cane that’s exclusively made in Brazil.
  • How do you pronounce Cachaça? Say “cah-cha-za.”
  • What does Cachaça taste like? It has a distinct flavor that’s truly hard to describe. Some say it tastes grassy and herbal. There’s something else there that we’re not sure how to name, so we like to say “funky.”
  • How much does Cachaça cost? A small bottle costs about $20 (in the US).
  • Is it worth buying? Yes! We think so. No if you’re a strict minimalist. There aren’t a lot of other well known cocktails you can make with it, so you’ll only use it for Caipirinhas. But they’re so tasty, we don’t think you’ll have a problem finishing the bottle.

How to make a Caipirinha (3 steps!)

With the Caipirinha you’ll muddle lime with sugar, then add the alcohol. Muddling is gently mashing fruit or herbs to release their juices. You use the same type of technique in a Mojito with lime and mint. Here’s how to make a Caipirinha:

  1. Muddle: Place lime and sugar in the bottom of a cocktail shaker. Gently mash with a cocktail muddler or wooden spoon.
  2. Shake in a cocktail shaker. Add the Cachaça and shake it together in a cocktail shaker filled with ice. (Don’t have one? Use a mason jar!)
  3. Strain into a glass and add garnish. Strain the drink into the cocktail glass. Garnish with lime wedges if you like!

Step it up with clear ice!

Are you entertaining and want to impress your guests with a Caipirinha? Consider making up a batch of clear ice! Clear ice is crystal clear, not cloudy like normal ice. It’s what bartenders use at fancy bars to make drinks look impressive. Make up a batch and you can cut it into large, organic shapes like you see in the photos. All you need is a small cooler and 24 hours. Here’s How to Make Clear Ice.


When to serve a Caipirinha

A Caipirinha is fun and festive, perfect for parties and entertaining, or a laid back evening sipping on your own! It’s great as a:

  • Summer drink
  • Signature drink
  • Cocktail hour drink
  • Girls or guys night drink
  • Happy hour drink
  • Dinner party drink
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Caipirinha Cocktail

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  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 0 minutes
  • Total Time: 5 minutes
  • Yield: 1 drink 1x


The Caipirinha is Brazil’s national drink and uniquely refreshing! This cocktail made with cachaça and lime is truly one of a kind.


  • 1/2 lime, cut into wedges
  • ½ tablespoon cane sugar
  • 2 ounces cachaça


  1. Add the lime wedges and sugar to a cocktail shaker and muddle (gently mash) to release the juices.
  2. Add the cachaça and fill the shaker with ice. Shake until cold.
  3. Strain the drink into an ice-filled lowball glass. Garnish with lime wedges.
  • Category: Drink
  • Method: Shaken
  • Cuisine: Brazilian
  • Diet: Vegan

More classic cocktails

This mojito is a knock-out classic! Here are a few more of our best classic cocktails you might also enjoy:

  • Pisco Sour The magic meld of pisco and lime in this Peruvian drink gives it a flavor that’s like none other.
  • Tom Collins This popular gin cocktail that’s light and bubbly!
  • Daiquiri The perfect balance of boozy, tart and sweet with rum, lime and sweetener.
  • Margarita On the rocks with 3 simple ingredients: lime, Cointreau and tequila. Try all the variations.
  • Moscow Mule Vodka, lime, ginger beer, copper mugs. Classic! Try all the variations.
  • Piña Colada The best piña colada recipe you’ll find! It’s takes only 5 ingredients and 5 minutes.
  • Gin Gimlet A classic cocktail made of lime juice and gin. Also try French Gimlet.

About the authors

Sonja & Alex

Hi, we’re Alex and Sonja Overhiser, married cookbook authors, food bloggers, and recipe developers. We founded A Couple Cooks to share fresh, seasonal recipes and the joy of cooking! Our recipes are made by two real people and work every time.

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