3 Caipirinhas

After recently comparing 3 cachaças I felt it would be good to also test the ultimate cachaça cocktail, the caipirinha. For the most part, I followed the excellent instructions from the Caipirinha.us website which can be downloaded in PDF here. While these instructions suggest Fazenda Mae De Ouro I think the instructions fit all caipirinhas and they’re the best instructions I’ve seen for anyone who has never made a caipirinha.

I have to admit that I did divert from these instructions in a couple ways. These instructions say to “Always use Superfine Cane Sugar (Domino Brand)” but I really don’t like such overly-processed sugar, so I used Trader Joe’s Organic Cane Sugar. I think this sugar adds a bit more depth to a rum cocktail without going over the top with a more flavorful sugar like turbinado. And since this is a very coarse sugar I made a 2:1 simple syrup from it, and used 1 tablespoon of this mixture per drink.

I feel these changes are slight, and I made each cocktail as identical as possible – I used limes that looked identical in size, lined up 3 glasses with the lime and simple syrup, muddled the same number of times, randomly grabbed a glass for each cachaça, measured the ice for each, and shook each equally in a Boston shaker. I just don’t feel that the comparison of the cachaças could be fair unless everything else were identical. Finally, my wife numbered each glass so that I could taste them blind. It was the best I could do to make things fair. This blind test, however, was a waste of time since I identified each cachaça immediately simply by smelling the caipirinha. But I tried.

Beleza Pura
The sniff test showed some strong notes coming through, very distinctive floral notes. This was a good cocktail, but the cachaça was a bit too overpowering and thus the cocktail lacked balance. That one distinct taste was strong enough to overpower all of the subtler flavors, and the only other noticeable flavor was lime. No balance, no depth. I have to say that I certainly would not complain if I was served one of these, and I might even prefer it if I was in the mood and desired a strong cachaça taste in the cocktail. But the lack of balance and depth dropped this down a couple notches.

Fazenda Mae De Ouro
This caipirinha had many more smells and flavors going on, though they took a bit of coaxing due to their subtleties. But none were distinct, and they all balanced very well with the lime, resulting in a nicely balanced cocktail with depth and some complexity. This was easily the best caipirinha of the bunch.

This caipirinha started out dull with the sniff test, and didn’t fair any better when sipped. The lime was the dominant taste in this cocktail due to the lack of flavor in the cachaça, and the result was simply boring. There was no balance because there was little taste beyond the lime. But I could see how a typical drinker, one who’s never had a good caipirinha, would like this cocktail. Even in its worst form this cocktail is very drinkable on a hot day, and quite refreshing. But the same people who would enjoy this would probably be the ones tired of Rum & Coke, or those who wanted to drink a “fancy cocktail” rather than a Budweiser. Sure, it’s tasty, but one can do so much better.

Once again the Fazenda Mae De Ouro comes out on top in this comparison, though the Beleza might be preferred by those who want a distinct cachaça taste in their caipirinha. But the depth and complexity of the Fazenda make the difference between a good caipirinha and an excellent one, and that’s what I’ll drink.


6 Responses to “3 Caipirinhas”

  1. tradertiki Says:

    Hi Scottes,

    where are you getting these Cachaças? I’ve rarely seen a store in the states with any more than Ron Toucan.

  2. Scottes Says:

    It hasn’t been easy finding the good ones. Mostly I can only find the cheaper cachaças, like Pitu and 51. Leblon is common enough though, given their marketing dollars. But the others have taken me months and visits to 20 different stores.

  3. Cachaca Fan Says:

    I’ve had a lot of cachaca and actively search them out here in the states. Most are very poor quality and some of the new ones are just poor quality in fancier bottles. Mae de Ouro is a good traditional tasting cachaca. The best premium one i’ve found is Cabana. It’s the most expensive, but is definitely the easiest to mix and makes for a wonderful caipirinha. My wife and I had a Leblon Caipirinha at Felix in NYC a while back and couldn’t even finish it. Very rough and the smell was overbearing.

  4. opinionated-alchemist Says:

    Hm the Caipirinha is discussable: I would use a whole lime (a bigger glass of course as well), super fine cane sugar is the best – it is not overprocessed as it shines raw cane sugar is often charged with molasses… organic sugar is fine – but you can grind it in the blender – however I wouldn’t use it as simple sugar, as you are adding water and it changes the character…

    Unfortunately I didn’t tried all of this cachaças – here in Dubai we will hopefully soon have Agua Luca which taste very good (traditional green cane aromas but refined finish through the 9 times filtering) – Germana cachaça we do have as well – but I think there is a bit too much of oak in – and oak has nothing to do in a traditional cachaça (as artisan distiller are using domestic Brazilian wood).
    And I don’t want to talk about the Cachaça 51 which is the only regular available cachaça here…

  5. Cheryl Says:

    I have a website http://www.brazilgourmet.com that I make a Caipirinha drink using my brazil gourmet product.
    Passion Fruit Caipirinhas
    A favorite in Brazil
    3oz Brazil Gourmet Passion Fruit nectar
    1 ½ oz cachaca (may substitute vodka)
    2 teaspoons superfine granulated sugar
    ¼ fresh lime, cut into 4 pieces
    Put lime wedges and sugar in a short 8oz glass and mash by pounding and pressing with a wooden spoon until the sugar is dissolved. Fill glass to the top with small ice cubes. Add passion fruit nectar and cachaca. Stir well.

    1 serving

    Thought you would like to try this one!


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