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Take time to savour the Caipirinha

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3 parts cachaca
1 lime, cut into six wedges, per glass
2 teaspoons raw (Demerara) sugar per glass Crushed ice


To mix the basic Caipirinha, take a large, sturdy glass. Muddle* the lime wedges and sugar together with a downward twisting motion.

Immediately you will notice a sharp citrus zest smell as the oils contained in the lime zest are expelled. Don’t be afraid to use a degree of force; it is important to make sure that as much as possible of the fruit’s juice is released to combine with the sugar, making the all important sweet and sour combination.

When you are satisfied that all the sugar is dissolved, cover the mixture with crushed ice**, pressing it down gently with the palm of your hand to make sure the glass is packed full. Then top with cachaca, stir and serve.

*A muddler is a wooden pestle, which is used to mash the lime and sugar. If you don’t have either a muddler or a traditional pestle then the back of a large spoon can still be used to good effect.

** The importance of good, fresh ice is often overlooked when it comes to cocktail making. Crushed ice has a much larger surface area than the equivalent amount of cubed ice and will therefore melt much faster. If you use ice made from tap water, a number of chemical the water contains, such as fluoride, will gradually be introduced into the finished product and affect the flavour. Even the most basic, store-bought ice will be made from water that has been filtered prior to freezing. So, at least, have some on hand but preferable, make your own from spring water or find a local supplier of superior quality ice.

If you don’t have an ice crusher, the simplest method to crushing ice is to wrap it tightly in a clean tea towel(dishcloth) and beat it with a mallet or rolling pin on a firm surface.

To keep the crushed ice handy, you can leave it in a sieve to allow it to drain.

(Excerpt from the book Cocktail Keys by Rob Cassels)