How to make a perfect caipirinha, the drink of the Rio Olympics

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The caipirinha is the most famous cocktail in Brazil—a potent drink that's a little like a cross between a margarita and a mojito, with a bunch of added lime. It's delicious. And even if you didn't make it all the way to Rio for this year's Olympics, you can still get in the Brazilian spirit by drinking caipirinhas while watching gymnastics on your couch.

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Here's what you need to know.

How do I pronounce this drink? I want to sound cool.

"Ky-per-reen-ya." Watch this video, if you're still confused:

What's in it?

The caipirinha is a simple drink. There are only four ingredients: cachaça, crushed ice, lime, and sugar. You probably already have two of those four things nearby.

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What is cachaça?

Cachaça! It's Brazil's national spirit. It was first consumed in the 1600s by slaves and it's been a drink of the people ever since. It's distilled from sugarcane juice. Basically, it's like Brazilian rum (but you'll sound like a square if you say that).

As of 2015, the average Brazilian drank 11.5 liters of cachaça per year. In all, some 5,000 producers make 1.2 billion liters of it every year, spread out over a whopping 4,000 brands. It's a nearly $8 billion industry. These days, most cachaça is produced industrially, by big brands like Leblon and 51, but the number of small craft and artisanal distilleries has risen dramatically in recent years.

What is the recipe?

To make a caipirinha, you'll need:

  • half a lime

  • two teaspoons of sugar

  • two ounces of cachaça

  • one cup of ice (cubed or crushed, your pick)

Step 1: cut that lime into pieces

Your first step is cutting up your lime into four wedges. You can go one of two ways.

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Put the limes in your glass.

Step 2: add sugar and muddle

Muddling is a technique used in a lot of cocktails that use fresh fruit. Basically, you use a tool called a muddler to press stuff together and against the side of the glass. Then, when you begin to pour the alcohol, it mixes with those ingredients more easily, making things taste better.

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You want to put some muscle into your pressing to break up the peel of the lime, but don't Hulk out. It should look something like this while you're doing it.

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The end result should give you something like this in your glass.

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Step 3: add ice

You're almost there. Now add your ice cubes to your glass.

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Step 4: pour in the cachaça

The recipe calls for two ounces, but you can eyeball it.

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Last step: stir

This one's easy.

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Enjoy, and saúde!

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Recipe and GIFs via Tipsy Bartender and BetterBookTV

David Matthews operates the Wayback Machine on Fusion.net—hop on. Got a tip? Email him: david.matthews@fusion.net

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