Spirits Around the World: Brazil

See why Brazil's national drink, the caipirinha, is enjoyed around the world.

One of the International Bartenders Association’s “contemporary classics,” the caipirinha has mysterious origins. Sources vary on the meaning of the word — some say “little countryside drink,” while others suggest “little peasant girl” — but the ingredients are consistent: sugar, lime juice, ice and cachaça, which is made from sugar cane. Documents indicate that the drink was created as a substitute to water in the mid-1800s because of fear of cholera, but exactly where in Brazil it originated is unknown.

Cachaça is not particularly tasty on its own, but mixed with the sweetness of sugar and the citrus flavor of the lime, it creates a refreshing cocktail for any occasion.


1/2 lime
1/2 teaspoon sugar
2 ounces cachaça

Directions: Cut the lime into cubes or wedges, and muddle them with the sugar in a glass. Add ice, and pour cachaça over top. Stir ingredients.

If this cocktail sounds delicious, check out the paloma or the pisco sour.