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It’s the first week of Spring! After the past year, I think that calls for a toast with a refreshing cocktail. I love citrus cocktails and exploring new spirits at home and when traveling. In this post we’ll talk about what cachaça is and explore some cachaça cocktails. Although cachaça is sometimes compared to a white rum, the flavor of the spirit is distinct. When I have one it transports me back to a patio in Barcelona in 2019 when I sipped on Caipirinhas. The spirit is getting easier to find all over the world, so grab some and get shaking!

What is cachaça?

Cachaça (pronounced “ka-SHA-sa”) is a spirit made from fermented sugar cane. Made in Brazil, this liquor is known for its distinct flavor. While different brands and expressions taste different, they share a fruity, spicy, and floral quality. The spirit has been distilled in Brazil since the 1500s. While cachaça and rhum agricole are both made from fermented sugarcane, the difference between them is how they are made. Cachaça must be made in Brazil from fresh cane juice that gets fermented and distilled once. It is then aged in a variety of indigenous Brazilian woods. Similar to the complexities in mezcal, cachaça ranges widely in flavor from brand to brand.

Cachaça Cocktails

1. Caipirinha

You can’t talk about cachaça cocktails without including Brazil’s national drink, the caipirinha. Once you figure out how to say it, it’s pronounced “kai·pr·ee·nyuh”, you can order one or make your own. This three-ingredient cocktail is easy to make but is full of flavor. Depending on the kind of cachaça used, the flavor can range from crisp floral (like Novo Fogo Silver) to funky (like Leblon). This is a great drink to make for a party since you can batch it easily.

Caipirinha

Keyword: cachaça, citrus cocktails

Ingredients

  • 2 oz cachaça
  • 1 lime (cut into wedges)
  • 2 tsp sugar

Instructions

  • Muddle the sugar and limes together in a rocks glass.
  • Add the cachaça and ice and stir gently. Garnish with a lime wedge and serve.

2. Pineapple Cachaça Collins

As cachaça found its way out of Brazil, much of the world has used it for tropical and tiki-style drinks. I decided to make a lighter tropical drink with club soda. The flavor of the pineapple syrup with the cachaça is perfect. If you want to make your own syrup, try this recipe. While a “collins” cocktail is typically made with gin, lemon juice, sugar, and soda water, this simply riffs on that recipe.

Pineapple Cachaça Collins

Ingredients

  • 1.5 oz cachaça
  • 4 oz club soda
  • 1 oz pineapple syrup
  • 0.5 oz lime juice

Instructions

  • Add cachaça, pineapple syrup, and lime juice to a shaker with ice.
  • Shake 20-30 seconds and strain into a glass with ice. Top with club soda and serve.

3. Brazilian Buck

A buck is a cocktail made with ginger ale or ginger beer, citrus, and a base liquor. The most famous of this style of drink is the Moscow Mule. The origin of the name comes from someone adding a shot of whiskey to a “Horse’s Neck” which was a combination of ginger ale and lemon juice. This addition gave the “horse a kick” and the name was born. I love any excuse to add the spiciness of ginger to a drink. This version features Q Ginger Beer which is clear and lower in sugar.

Brazilian Buck

Keyword: cachaça

Ingredients

  • 1.5 oz cachaça
  • 4 oz ginger beer (I used Q Mixers)
  • 2 dashes Peychaud's bitters
  • 1 wedge lime

Instructions

  • Make this cocktail in a glass.
  • Add several small ice cubes to a glass along with all ingredients listed.
  • Stir lightly and serve with a lime and/or ginger candy garnish.

Strawberry Caipirinha

If a caipirinha is good, a strawberry one can only be slightly better. As fresh strawberries become available into the summer, this recipe is going to become a regular at my house. The squeeze of lime can be increased if you have sweeter strawberries and are looking for a bit more balance. I love this muddler for making drinks in the glass as the teeth easily grab the fruit. Flat wooden muddlers are harder to manipulate in the glass and you don’t want to force anything and risk breaking your glass.

Strawberry Caipirinha

Keyword: cachaça

Ingredients

  • 2 oz cachaça
  • 5 strawberries (save one for garnish)
  • 1 wedge lime
  • 2 tsp sugar

Instructions

  • Add four strawberries and the sugar to a glass. Muddle lightly leaving some chunks of strawberry in tact.
  • Add ice, cachaça, and squeeze of lime juice and lightly stir.
  • Garnish with strawberry and serve.

And there you have four cachaça cocktails to kick off warmer temperatures. If you have a favorite cachaça cocktail recipe, I am always looking for new ways to use this unique spirit.

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