5 Ways to Take Cachaça Beyond the Caipirinha
Cachaça, a Brazilian rum-esque spirit distilled from sugarcane, is primarily known as the base spirit for one drink: the strong, limey caipirinha. Don’t get us wrong—we love a caipirinha or three, but keeping cachaça penned into one role is like limiting Bryan Cranston to playing only meth-dealing dads for the rest of his life.
Luckily, the World Cup offers cachaça an opportunity to break out of its typecasting. Since the international soccer competition is taking place in Brazil this year, bars across the country are celebrating with their own innovative cachaça cocktail creations. Here, five brilliant cachaça cocktails that go way beyond caipirinhas.
Santa Catarina Shandy; Extra Fancy, Brooklyn
Bartender Robert Krueger took inspiration from German beer cocktails called Biermischgetränkes for this spritzy drink (left). It is named for a Brazilian state where there is a large German population.
1¼ oz. Leblon cachaça
¾ oz. fresh lemon juice
¾ oz. honey syrup (two parts honey to one part water)
Leipziger Gose Bier
Pink peppercorns, for garnish
Add the cachaça, lemon and honey to a mixing glass with ice and shake well. Pour into a collins glass and add 5 or 6 ice cubes. Pour in the beer carefully so it doesn’t foam over. Stir briefly and grind pink peppercorns over the top to garnish.
Bicycle Kick; Red Star Tavern, Portland, OR
This gingery cocktail from bartender Brandon Lockman is perfect for those who are apprehensive about trying a new cachaça cocktail. It has a lot of the same flavors as a caipirinha but with some nice spice from fresh ginger syrup, sweet nuttiness from the orgeat and a beautiful floral aroma from the orange blossom water.
2 oz. Leblon cachaça
¾ oz. lime juice
½ oz. ginger syrup (equal parts fresh-squeezed ginger juice and sugar, boiled and cooled)
½ oz. orgeat
Dash orange blossom water
Shake the cachaça, lime juice, ginger syrup, orgeat and orange blossom water together with ice. Strain into a tall glass and top with ginger ale.
Brazilian Prayer; Distilled, New York City
Beverage director Benjamin Wood came up with this complex cachaça cocktail. It’s a terrific drink for Manhattan lovers who need something boozy and stirred.
1 oz. Cocchi Americano
1 oz. Avua Amburana cachaça
¾ oz. Calvados
½ oz. Rothman & Winter Orchard Apricot Liqueur
1 dash orange bitters
Lemon twist, for garnish
Add all of the ingredients to a mixing glass with ice. Stir until chilled and strain into a coupe. Garnish with a lemon twist.
Hot to Trot; Sable Kitchen & Bar, Chicago
This fruity tropical cocktail is perfect for drinking during daytime games—or just by the pool. It calls for an aged cachaça, which is spicier and richer than its unaged counterpart.
2 oz. aged cachaça
1½ oz. mango puree
¾ oz. fresh lemon juice
½ oz. Cointreau
Shake all of the ingredients with ice and strain into a collins glass over ice.
Brazilian Negroni; Hopscotch, Oakland, California
Owner and bar manager Jenny Schwarz makes this take on a Negroni with Avua Amburana cachaça, a small-batch cachaça made by a female distiller. Schwarz likes it because it is light on the vegetal funk that cachaça is known for.
- 1 oz. Avua Amburana cachaça
- ¾ oz. Campari
- ¾ oz. Contratto Bianco vermouth
- 2 dashes orange bitters
- 2 dashes Lactart (optional; available at artofdrink.com)
- Orange twist, for garnish
- Fresh mint, for garnish
In a mixing glass with ice, add all of the ingredients and stir until chilled. Strain into a Nick and Nora glass. Garnish with an orange twist and fresh mint.