Light and refreshing, the nation’s trademark cocktail is originally made with a blend of lime, sugar, cachaça and ice. Nowadays, the caipirinha has undergone a mini revolution with new fruits, flavors and presentation styles. A good caipirinha is dangerously moreish – pay heed to the ‘drink in moderation’ warning! Here’s our favourite spots in Rio for this Brazilian cocktail classic.
The Bar Surfshop
Bar, Restaurant, Brazilian
On the street that connects Copacabana to Ipanema is a small row of trendy shops and galleries that target the young and carefree beach lovers, skaters and surfers. Among these is The Bar Surfshop, which blends urban-chic clothes store with a casual bar and snack joint. As expected from a hip, young bar, the caipirinhas bend traditions with flavors such as watermelon and chilli. Enjoy with a side order of nachos.
Low seating, soft lighting and a warm color scheme create a romantic ambience at Bar dos Descasados, intensified only by the spectacular views across leafy tree tops and Santa Teresa. Such a fancy place clearly comes with fancy caipirinhas and although above the average price, the quality is superb. Try some of the more interesting combinations, such as strawberry and chilli, banana with passionfruit and cinnamon, and the yellow fruits.
One of the most successful chains of botecos in Brazil has cracked the perfect recipe for a night out: cold beers, smooth cocktails, great snacks and a casual yet comfortable environment for socializing. The caipirinhas here aren’t particulary creative, yet that’s their charm. They embrace all the aged traditions of the perfect caipirinha – strong, generously-poured and extra cold. Pineapple and strawberry options are good, but the original lime caipirinha is unbeatable.
Bar, Restaurant, Brazilian, Beer, Wine, Cocktails, Pub Grub, Vegetarian, $$$
Palaphita, Rio de Janeiro
Low wooden seating and thatched roofs create a jungly vibe to this Amazonian-style outdoor lounge that sits on the outskirts of the Lagoa lake. The relaxed and carefree ambience combines perfectly with the natural settings. The caipirinhas at Palaphita Kitch are made using fruits from the north of Brazil that will take you on a fascinating journey of exploration as you try to figure out what fruits they are. Try the cupuazú, imbu, graviola or the caja caipirinha.
The large Brazilian flag design ceiling and rows of bottled cachaça, leave no doubts to the link between this sugarcane spirit and its nationality. Academia da Cachaça is wholly dedicated to the incredible diversity of cachaça and this theme is weaved throughout the food and of course, the drinks. Caipirinhas stick to tradition fruits to keep the focus on the cachaça’s flavors and come in lime, passionfruit, or fruits of the season.
The kiosks in Copacabana are casual bars that are dotted along the shorefront serving typical Brazilian snacks and refreshing drinks. The most lively and popular is Quiosque Praia Skol 360º, known for its live music of samba or forro and carefree crowd. The caipirinhas here may lack the sophistication of more upscale bars, yet the pleasure comes from their charming simplicity. Try the original lime for the most authentic experience and drink it slowly – the bartenders are more than generous with cachaca quantities.
T.T.Burger offers one of Rio’s most creative caipirinhas that breaks all the rules of the cocktail’s enduring traditions. Known as the Scaode de Caipirinha, it’s made with lime ice-cream and ginger, blended with mint leaves and mixed with cachaca or vodka and syrup to sweeten things up. Try it with one of T.T.’s famous homemade burgers.