3-Ingredient Brazilian Caipirinha

published Jun 8, 2023
Brazilian Caipirinha Recipe

The caipirinha, Brazil’s national cocktail, has only three ingredients, comes together in five minutes, and is made in the same glass you drink it from.

Serves1

Prep5 minutes

Jump to Recipe
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a shot of a glass filled with Brazilian caipirhina, ice cubes and  limes that's placed on a marble surface with a blue background behind it
Credit: Photo: Alex Lepe; Food Styling: James Park

Years ago, I had the amazing opportunity to travel to Brazil for work, splitting my time between the sunny countryside and beachy Rio de Janeiro. Between dips in the ocean and bites of moqueca (seafood stew) and pão de queijo (cheese bread), I drank my fair share of caipirinhas, Brazil’s national cocktail. 

Besides being beyond refreshing in the heat, each caipirinha always came out quickly. That’s because it consists of only three ingredients, comes together in five minutes, and is made in the same glass it’s drunk out of — no shaker or fancy bar equipment needed. In my house, my husband and I can easily make a couple to knock back during happy hour while simultaneously making dinner and watching our kids — win-win. 

Ingredients in a Caipirinha

  • Lime: Each cocktail contains a quartered lime, peel and all, along with some extra freshly squeezed lime juice.
  • Granulated sugar: The sugar acts as an abrasive that helps break down the lime wedges in the glass, releasing its juices.
  • Cachaça: A liquor that’s distilled from fermented sugarcane juice. Flavorwise, cachaça is slightly grassy with a bit of funk. Most liquor stores carry at least one brand, such as Leblon
  • Ice: While I call for regular ice cubes, you can also use crushed ice to chill the drink quickly (it also provides a bit of dilution). 
Credit: Photo: Alex Lepe; Food Styling: James Park

What’s the Difference Between a Capirinha, a Daiquiri, and Mojito?

  • Caipirinhas contain a whole lime, granulated sugar, and cachaça.
  • Daiquiris are 3-ingredient cocktails made with lime juice, sugar (or simple syrup), and light rum.
  • Mojitos have lime juice, sugar (or simple syrup), white rum, fresh mint, and club soda. 

How to Make a Caipirinha

A caipirinha is a muddled cocktail, so it comes together in the same glass it’s drunk out of. You’ll start by quartering a lime into wedges and adding them to a rocks or Old-Fashioned glass. Pour the sugar right on top, then, using a wooden spoon (or a muddler if you have one), press down on the lime wedges to release the juice and dissolve the sugar. Add in some freshly squeezed lime juice and the cachaça, and stir to combine. Top with crushed ice and garnish with a lime wheel. Cheers, or, as they say in Portuguese, saúde!

Brazilian Caipirinha Recipe

The caipirinha, Brazil’s national cocktail, has only three ingredients, comes together in five minutes, and is made in the same glass you drink it from.

Prep time 5 minutes

Serves 1

Nutritional Info

Ingredients

  • 2

    medium limes, divided

  • 1 tablespoon

    granulated sugar

  • 2 ounces

    cachaça, such as Leblon

  • Ice

Instructions

  1. Halve 1 of the medium limes. Juice one half until you have 1 tablespoon. Slice 1 lime wheel from the other half, reserving the remaining for another use.

  2. Quarter the remaining lime. Place in a rocks or old fashioned glass and add 1 tablespoon granulated sugar. Muddle with a muddler or wooden spoon until the juice from the lime is released and the sugar is dissolved.

  3. Add the reserved lime juice and 2 ounces cachaça, and stir to combine. Top with ice, and garnish with the lime wheel.