The Caipirinha is a bit like a Daiquiri, except that it uses sugarcane–based cachaça instead of rum, and whole lime pieces instead of just the juice. It's a bold, tangy, and husky drink, even more so when gussied up with ruby-red pomegranate and festive sparkling wine.
Why It Works
- This winter cocktail features pomegranates and limes, which are at their peak in the colder months.
- Cachaça adds an earthy flavor that's boosted by the tannic pomegranate juice.
- Adding the sparkling wine to the cocktail shaker after the drink is chilled, then pouring the entire contents into the serving glass, helps mix the wine into the drink a bit without losing all of the bubbles.
I consider myself a pretty knowledgeable person when it comes to cocktails. And yet, a few years back, I found myself too intimidated to order a Caipirinha. The problem was the name. My own name is mispronounced about 60% of the time—you're probably saying it wrong right now—so I just hate not knowing how to pronounce a drink's name correctly
However you say it (kye-peer-EEN-yah, shall we practice?), the Caipirinha is delicious. Worth embarrassing yourself in front of a bartender for. It's a bit like a classic Daiquiri, only it calls for sugarcane juice–based cachaça instead of rum, and wedges of lime instead of just the juice. Those swaps give the drink an earthy, husky character that's a fascinating departure from the bright and smooth Daiquiri.
In this wintry variation, the sour bite of the lime gets punched up with sweet-tart pomegranate juice (and fresh pomegranate seeds give it a little crunch). The rosy color feels just right for holiday parties, and a little sparkling wine makes it even more celebratory. The wine serves as a bridge between flavors, heightening the drink's fruitiness and floral notes. In order to incorporate the wine without shaking it (and losing its bubbles), you'll add the bubbly to the shaker last, after everything else is shaken and chilled. Tipping the mixture into your serving glass will help combine the wine with all the other ingredients, so it doesn't just sit on top.
If you don't want to pop open a whole bottle of sparkling wine, consider grabbing a split, which is a quarter bottle—just right for two of these drinks. Once you make one, I'm certain you'll want another.
- 1 barspoon superfine sugar (1 teaspoon; 4g)
- 10 fresh pomegranate seeds
- 1/2 lime, quartered
- 1/2 ounce pomegranate juice (1 tablespoon; 15mL)
- 2 ounces cachaça, such as Leblon (4 tablespoons; 60mL)
- 3 ounces sparkling wine (6 tablespoons; 90mL)
In the bottom of a mixing glass, add the superfine sugar and pomegranate seeds. Crush the seeds with a muddler to break open. Add lime wedges and muddle 6 times to release their juice. Add pomegranate juice and cachaça and fill glass 2/3 full with ice. Shake until well chilled, about 20 seconds. Add sparkling wine to glass, then pour contents, without straining, into a double rocks glass. Add more fresh ice cubes if desired and serve immediately.