Twisted Caipirinha!

I had the most craptastic commute in the history of commutes tonight. Seriously.  I left my work in Vancouver, Washington (just across the river from Portland) at 3:15ish, and didn’t get home to our place that’s less than a mile south of downtown Portland until around 6:00 p.m. That’s something like 13 miles in three hours. I have never experienced anything like it, and our local traffic reporter said that in his 20 years of covering traffic in PDX, he’s never seen anything like it. Insanity. Now, in fairness, it did randomly start snowing, which doesn’t happen much here. But still, it was hellish.

And I hate snow. As has been well-documented here.

Fortunately, when we had friends over to watch the Christmas Ships last weekend, I invented a pretty stellar new drink–I call it the Twisted Caipirinha. When I got home this evening, the first thing I did to seek solace from the snow, was make myself one–and I thought I’d share my recipe with y’all.

I first had a caipirinha at one of our favorite restaurants several years ago, The Lumberyard in Cannon Beach. (True confession: we call it The Logjammer, which is a Big Lebowski reference; I’ll just leave it there for those of you in the know to snicker about.) I got a little obsessed (I know, shocking, me obsessed.) with re-creating a caipirinha, but we could never find the special Brazilian booze that goes in it, cachaça (theoretically, you can substitute rum, but I hate, hate, hate rum, so that’s a non-option for me). We finally found some a few months back at the wonderful liquor store near Josh’s work (liquor stores in Portland tend to be creepy places whose primary focus is lottery tickets and generic brand gin, so this place is a treat–if you’re ever in Portland, you’ve got to check it out). So, after tinkering quite a bit and messing with recipes from my two favorite cocktail books, I perfected the caipirinha.

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The Twisted Caipirinha Team

Ask anyone who hangs out with me regularly, I’m not a big drinker. Sure, I enjoy a trip to Thatch with Rachel when she visits (Uh, by the way, Rach, when are you making another journey to PDX?), love Portland’s vast selection of microbrews and really love the fancy bourbon Josh buys me every Thanksgiving (another one of our funny traditions–my favorite is Blanton’s single barrel, which is not hugely popular, but works great the way I like it: over ice, plus a teeny, tiny splash of soda water; it also has a badass bottle), regardless, I’m not much of a drinker.

(Geez… Was that a long enough intro to this cocktail recipe?)

Assemble your ingredients. (Makes one cocktail.)

  • Cachaça (I prefer Leblon. It’s smooth, and tasty. You could substitute rum, but I wouldn’t recommend it–track down the real thing if you can. Cachaça is made with cane sugar, rum is made with molasses, they’re quite different in flavor.)
  • One Lime
  • One clementine, “cutie” or mandarin orange; you could also use half of a tangerine
  • Simple syrup (I cheat & buy mine at Trader Joe’s. Here’s a recipe, if you want to make your own. Hint: If making your own, use a natural, organic sugar.)
  • Ice

You’ll also need the following:

  • Cocktail tumbler
  • Sharp knife
  • Muddler or pestle from mortar & pestle
  • Shot glass or other measuring tool that measures down to the 1/2 ounce

Make your Twisted Caipirinha.

First, slice your lime  into quarters, but do not completely sever the skin. Basically, you’ll have two halves that are almost divided into quarters.

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A way to make sure you extract the most juice out of your limes is to roll it on the counter before slicing.

Repeat with the clementines.

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Mmmm... This is funny, because it's a tropical drink, but the clementines are only available in the winter. I love it for a surprising holiday cocktail.

Toss all, cut sides down, into your tumbler.

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The juice will squeeze out better if you take care to make sure your fruit is cut side down.

Next, add a half an ounce of simple syrup to your fruit. (I tend to like things sour, so if you do too, add less syrup. If your taste runs to the sweet, add a bit more.)

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I think the store-bought TJ's brand simple syrup is just as tasty as the stuff I've made, and it's a whole lot less messy.

Now it’s time to add the Cachaça! Pour two ounces into your fruit and syrup mixture.

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Mmmm... So much better than rum!

Now take your muddling tool (I use the pestle from our mortar and pestle that we’ve had forever (Josh got it for me for a birthday, 21st  or 22nd, I think) and mush everything together in your tumbler. You don’t need to be too aggressive, just mix the liquids and gently push the juice out of the fruit.

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It's funny that we don't own a muddling tool--but this has worked well for ten years or so...

Fill your tumbler with ice and give it a quick stir.

Your Twisted Caipirinha is ready to drink! Enjoy!

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Twisted Caipirinha! While I love the original, which is a sour lime drink, my version with seasonal clementines is really festive and tasty.

~Sarah

P.S. For a traditional caipirinha recipe, try this one. (And please, consume your caipirinha responsibly, and make sure your guests are responsible as well–don’t drink and drive.)

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3 thoughts on “Twisted Caipirinha!

  1. Here in Brazil we have other drink like Caipirinha, is the Caipirosca.
    The diference is: in Caipirinha we use cachaça and caipirosca we use vodka =D
    Try to make it with a good vodka, you will not regret ;-)

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