Caipirinha Punch

Well, I've never been to Brazil but I want to go. And I totally get why the Caipirinha (pronounced cai-pe-reen-ya) is their famed national drink. I imagine it's the perfect accompaniment to the balmy weather, beaches, and all-night dancing - plus it's just a damn good cocktail.

I'm not sure if it's the raw sugar cane rum cachaça, because to me rum spells tropical getaway or if it's because I was actually on vacation the first time I tried one.

In June of 2008 I took the brilliant recommendation of a bartender at Sushi Samba in South Beach who insisted it was well-suited for their Latin-infused menu and the new "it" drink. Long after I left SOBE, I still wanted the "it" drink which meant I probably needed to learn to make one.

The basic recipe is simply 2 oz cachaça, 1 lime and 1 tsp of sugar muddled, shaken and then served over lots of crushed ice. But cachaça is a fun spirit to experiment with so that is what I did.

First I tried raw sugar instead of white, then brown - I recommend both of those. Then I tried some lemon juice in addition to the lime, then mint, then green apple and eventually cucumber. And one day I wanted to make a lot of them for a party, got crazy and used all of the above.

Saúde! The Caipirinha Punch was born - my idea of a quick getaway for sure!

Caipirinha Punch

1 bottle cachaça 

1/2 bottle Cointreau

1/2 bottle white cranberry juice

1 cup simple syrup made with raw sugar (1:1 water + sugar)

2 green apples sliced

1 cucumber sliced

4 limes sliced

2 lemons sliced

1 bunch of mint leaves

1 bottle soda water

Combine all ingredients except the soda water in a large pitcher or punch bowl and let stand at room temp for 2 hours. Fill glasses with lots of crushed ice and top with soda water just before serving.