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I am sorry if I am irritating those not from Brazil with my newfound passion for this great country, but believe me you will be grateful for the steer towards this book. The recipes offer a wake-up call to a jaded palate, and yet because they are very much modern rewrites of what might otherwise be considered a dauntingly traditional canon, they are instantly accessible. I realise that the actual recipe (for a cocktail) doesn't exactly illustrate this point, but I just couldn't resist. If you can't get hold of cachaça, use vodka, in which case the drink becomes a Caipiroska. Inspired by my stay in Brazil, I love to add passionfruit to this heavenly concoction, too.


From Cook Brazilian by Leticia Moreinos Schwartz. Published by Kyle, 2010.

Refreshing, cool, sweet and festive, caipirinha is Brazil. And if caipirinha is Brazil, then cachaça is our national shrine. Caipirinha is a simple cocktail based on a mixture of mashed lime with sugar, ice and cachaça. There are a few variables, however, that make all the difference. The lime should be cut into medium chunks, then mashed with sugar by a wooden muddler until the lime releases its oil. Transfer to a shaker, add some ice and cachaça, shake and pour. Some recipes advise against mashing the lime too hard, as the oil can taste bitter. That's a very legitimate argument, but the sugar protects it and the more you release those oils, the better. Remember that caipirinha calls for lime and not lemon. Lemon skin is much thicker and carries a heavier white layer, giving a stronger, bitter taste. I like my caipirinha on the lighter side, although it's very common to use a stronger dose than suggested here. Caipirinha is not the type of drink to serve out of a pitcher or prepare in advance. Each must be prepared individually, shaken individually and immediately poured into a wide, sturdy glass.


Makes 1 caipirinha


2 limes

1 tablespoon sugar

2-3 tablespoons cachaça (adjust amount to taste)

ice cubes


1. Trim the ends off the limes. Cut the limes into medium-sized wedges.

2. Using a muddler, or the end of a wooden spoon, mash the lime with the sugar, making sure to squeeze all the juices from the lime and to dissolve the sugar in the juice.

3. Transfer the lime mixture to a shaker. Add the cachaça and ice cubes. Shake well (about 8-10 times) and pour into a large but not tall, sturdy glass.