Rick Cooks Home Caipirinha
Brazilian lime-cachaça cocktail

San Diego has a good-size Brazilian population, so we have a couple of churrascarías (such as Rei do Gado and Fronteira) where we can go for a good meal of grilled meat at very mild prices.

When you go to one of these restaurants, make sure you ask for a caipirinha instead of a margarita. It's a traditional Brazilian cocktail made very simply with only four ingredients: lime segments (with rind), sugar, cachaça, and cracked ice. To make it, you don't need a shaker or blender, but you do need a wooden pestle. The drink is prepared in the glass, so make sure you use heavy restaurant or bar glasses, not a crystal goblet.

The liquor is cachaça, a Brazilian distilled spirit made from sugar cane, similar to white rum. If you can't find it, you haven't really looked hard, but you can substitute white rum, which changes the name of the drink to caipiríssima. Or you can use vodka, but then you would have to call it a caipiroshka.

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*Bartender recipe (serves 1)*

1 lime
2 oz cachaça
cracked ice
simple syrup (optional)

Cut the lime into segments and place them into the glass, pulp side up. Sprinkle with sugar and crush the pieces with a wooden pestle until juices are pressed out. Add the cachaça and cracked ice.
If too sour, add a little more sugar or simple syrup.
If too strong, it's just right.