This recipe was first published as part of our Get to know feature on the The Caipirinha.
Half a large lime
2tsp Fine white sugar
Trim both ends of the lime to reveal the flesh. Cut the trimmed fruit lengthways into two halves. Remove excess pith and seeds from the core through two lengthways cuts on each half, and scrape out any remaining seeds. Dice each lime half into six cubes through one lengthways and two horizontal cuts.
Place the lime pieces in a sturdy old-fashioned glass, add sugar, and muddle thoroughly. Add the cachaça, top with cracked ice, and tip everything into a cocktail shaker. Shake thoroughly, return to the glass, top with more ice and give a final stir. Optionally, garnish with a lime wheel and short straw.
Brazilians have a sweet tooth. Not only do the bitter lime oils make the balance point relatively saccharine, but extra sweetness brings out cachaça’s herbaceous notes. Sugar also offers structure as the ice dilutes.
Use fine white cane sugar for easy solubility. Nothing is worse – or more common, in some countries – than a Caipirinha filled with un-dissolved sugar. So if your sugar is coarse simply pulverise in a blender. Avoid over muddling since it can extract too much bitter oil from the limes. Some even suggest muddling only one slice of lime and adding the rest as juice. That seems too extreme, but do go easy.