The caipiroska is vodka's answer to the caipirinha. It uses the same muddled sugar and lime of the famous cachaça drink, but swaps out the liquor. The refreshing cocktail has a sweet-tart flavor and is very simple to make.
This recipe is a perfect use of dark sugars. It's nice with raw sugars like turbinado or demerara and really shines with coconut or palm sugar. You can make it with standard brown sugar, but will want to use less—white sugar can make a good caipiroska, too.
The keys to this drink are crushed ice (and lots of it) and choosing a vodka that you enjoy drinking straight. Use as much lime as you like, but be generous because it's the main flavoring ingredient. When it all comes together, you'll have a crisp, ice-cold vodka cocktail to enjoy.
- 1 lime
- 1 tablespoon coconut sugar (or raw, palm, or white sugar)
- 2 ounces vodka
- 1 cup crushed ice (or more as needed)
- Garnish: lime wedges
Gather the ingredients.
Cut off both ends of a lime, then cut it in half lengthwise. For each half, cut it lengthwise, then slice across the lime three times to make a total of 12 small wedges.
Place at least six lime wedges (more to taste) in a chilled old-fashioned glass. Add the sugar and muddle well to mix.
Fill the glass with crushed ice and pour in the vodka
Stir well, incorporating some of the lime into the crushed ice.
Top with more ice and garnish with extra lime wedges. Serve and enjoy!
- The mixing technique is a matter of preference, though this drink relies on a good amount of dilution. Some people enjoy shaking the caipiroska with ice cubes and will pour everything into the glass. You can also roll the drink between two glasses with small cubes or chunky ice.
- A blender can quickly make crushed ice out of ice cubes. To reduce melting, chill the blender pitcher in the freezer for about 10 minutes, then pulse it.
- Alternatively, crush the ice with a mallet or muddler in a lint-free towel or plastic bag. If you enjoy drinks like this often, consider adding a handheld ice crusher or Lewis bag to your bar.
- Crushed ice melts quickly, so this is not a drink to let sit around.
- Brown sugar is richer, so reduce the measurement to about 2 teaspoons when using it as a substitute.
- Use 1 ounce of simple syrup instead of sugar. Infused syrups add extra flavor.
- Switch to a flavored vodka to customize the taste.
- Add more fruits to the muddle. A strawberry caipiroska is a favorite variation, and mango and passionfruit are common, too. Nearly any crushable fruit that pairs well with lime will work.
- Muddle herbs, such as mint or rosemary into the drink. Ginger adds a spicy snap, too.
How Strong Is the Caipiroska?
The caipiroska uses dilution to soften the flavor. The ice melt also reduces the alcohol content over time; its impact is dependent on the form of ice you use. While it's not precise because of that factor, the caipiroska will initially mix up to about 20 percent ABV (40 proof), or about half the vodka's bottling strength.