The Traveler’s Cocktail of 2014? The Caipirinha.

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Contributed by Victoria James

Unofficial pronunciation: kipe-EE-reen-yah

What on earth is a caipirinha you may ask? A type of Brazilian dance? An island off the coast of Recife? Maybe the Portuguese name for a men’s bikini wax? Nope, all wrong.

A caipirinha is a delicious Brazilian drink made with cachaça, limes, sugar and ice. Yup, it’s that simple. Cachaça is a rum-like alcohol of distilled sugarcane juice, pronounced: ca-cha-saah. Of course, there are variations depending on taste, but when it comes to the classic version of a caipirinha, less is more.

The national cocktail of Brazil originally got its name from the Brazilian Portuguese term for hillbilly; however, now the word relates almost exclusively to the drink. Caipirinhas can be found everywhere in Brazil; from the chicest bars in Ipanema, to the Amazonian jungles of Manaus.

Need to brush up on your Brazilian bartending skills? Tudo bem, we’ve got you covered. To start, caipirinhas should always be made fresh, never ahead of time or from a mix. Some good brands of cachaça are: Salinas, Macena and Espírito Santa. Next, the funny little tool used to muddle the quartered lime is called a ‘socador’ and can be made of wood, metal or plastic. It plays a crucial part in mixing the lime and 2 teaspoons of sugar together in an old-fashioned glass, which is the first step. Next, fill the glass with ice. Finally, add 2 ounces of cachaça, stir well and enjoy!

While they may not be widely available in your neighborhood bars, these tasty drinks are sure to rise in popularity as Brazil hosts the 2014 World Cup and 2016 Olympics. For now, this summer you may have to settle for caipiroskas which are identical to caipirinhas, except that they call for vodka instead of cachaça.

Então, now that you know how to prepare one of the coming year’s most popular drinks, go ahead and impress your friends, you worldly drinker you.

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