The key to making a smooth, refreshing caipirinha, the sugarcane rum cocktail that is Brazil’s national drink, is to crush the lime vigorously to release its essential oils. Use the best cachaça you can find (cheaper versions have an overly strong, alcoholic flavor). We like a brand, made in the Brazilian state of Minas Gerais, called Pirapora.
- 1 large lime
- 1 1⁄2-2 tbsp. sugar
- 1⁄2 cup cachaça
- Cut lime in half lengthwise, then cut each half crosswise into 4 pieces and transfer to a cocktail shaker. Add sugar and muddle with a pestle or a spoon to release the lime’s juice and essential oils. Add cachaça and 4–5 ice cubes. Cover cocktail shaker and shake vigorously for 10 seconds. Pour into a glass (preferably a tumbler or an old-fashioned or rocks glass), garnish rim with a slice of lime, and serve immediately.