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August 21, 2009

So I tried the caipirinha ...

caipirinhaIt wasn't as good as I thought it would be.

It wasn't smooth enough! I could still taste too much of the liquor -- even after muddling half a lime and two teaspoons of sugar.

Also, there was something to the liquor that reminded me of tequila. I can't quite put my finger on it. The smell, maybe? Either way, that was kind of a turnoff, too.

Of course, this didn't stop me from drinking my homemade caipirinha.

In hindsight, I should have put more lime in it. That might have helped soften the liquor's bite ...

Amie spent a month in Argentina, where she drank these things all the time. She said they were super tasty and made with lemons -- not limes. I'm sure the ingredients change, depending on the place. 

Maybe if I get my paws on some more of the stuff, I'll try making it with lime. But I'm in no rush, and I'm certainly not going to go out of my way to find more cachaca.

(Photo by me)

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Posted by Sam Sessa at 7:57 AM | | Comments (8)
Categories: Bars & Clubs


I had the same problem as well. I drank these all the time in costa rica and they were fantastic. I tried making my own here at home by buying the local cachaca from the liquor store but it was terrible, way to strong and I had a lot of limes and what I thought was a lot of sugar. Maybe it's all about the quality of the cachaca. The one I got smells pretty terrible.

Oh Sam. While I really do appreciate the gung-ho attitude, first impressions are everything. Definitely recommend letting a seasoned caipirinha maker mix your next one. I recommend Fogo De Chao as the make excellent ones.

Oh? I didn't know you could get one there. Here's a Fogo question -- does it have a bar? Or do I have to pay the $40 (or whatever) a person for dinner if I want a caipirinha?

It does have a bar.

agreed. Fogo De Chao has a great caipirinha. Pickled Parrot also makes one with sticks of sugar cane. However the one i had was lacking on the limes.

my best friend's mother is brazillian and she makes these for us. the bottle she uses has a crab on it i think. at any rate, they are always sweet and sour... i have never been able to taste the liquor at all. i think maybe you need to find a nice brazillian lady to make you one.

I think the ingredients make the difference... in Portugal, they're made with big (not key) limes, turbinado sugar, and the smokiest cachaca you can find. I usually use 51, and even though I get college flashbacks when I drink tequila these days, it goes down smooth. more like earthy, salty rum than tequila.

Sam –
As mentioned above we carry cachaca and make the caipirinha. My Mom is from Brazil and introduced me to them about 10 years ago. I started carrying it as soon as it became available here. The industry trend-watchers were actually predicting it to be “the next mojito,” which didn’t happen, although it did become huge in the big club cities and cocktail lounges about 3 years ago.

Cachaca definitely has a distinct flavor, which might actually be a bit of an acquired taste, owing mostly to the fact that it’s made from raw sugarcane pressings, as opposed to molasses like rum. There is also a huge spectrum of quality and production styles. Most of what I’ve seen here is the white, unaged stuff, as opposed to the barrel aged. The difference is huge – think Bacardi vs. Barbancourt 5 Star.

We make our caipirinha with Pitu cachaca, which, along with Pirrassununga 51, claims the lion’s share of the Brazilian market. If you find the taste of these to be too strong, look for Leblon, which is batch distilled in the style of 10 Cane or Patron and is geared toward the American taste – much less distinctive and harsh.

Come on by for a caipirinha!


RC – Thanks for the feedback. I’ll be reminding the bartenders about the proper proportions of lime. I can only imagine if my Mom came by and the bartender didn’t make a proper caipirinha – good God, I’d never hear the end of it…

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About Erik Maza
Erik Maza is a features reporter at the Baltimore Sun. He writes for several sections of the Sun paper and contributes weekly columns on music and nightlife. He also writes and edits the Midnight Sun blog. He often covers entertainment, business, and the business of entertainment. Occasionally, he writes about Four Loko, The Block, the liquor board, and those who practice "simulated sex with a potted palm tree." Before The Sun, he was a reporter at the Miami New Times. He's also written for Miami magazine, the Orlando Sentinel, the Sarasota Herald Tribune and the Gainesville Sun. Got tips? Gripes? Pitches? He's reachable at Click here to keep up with the dumb music he's listening to.

Midnight Sun covers Baltimore music, live entertainment, and nightlife news. On the blog, you'll find, among other things, concert announcements, breaking news, bars closings and openings, up-to-date coverage of crime in nightlife, new music, round-the-clock coverage of Virgin Mobile FreeFest, handy guides on bars staying open past 2 a.m. on New Year's Eve and those that carry Natty Boh on draft. Recurring features include seven-day nightlife guides, Concert News, guest reviews of bars and concerts, Wednesday Corkboard, and photo galleries, as well as reader-submitted photos. Thanks for reading.

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