One of the first things that many people want to do when they arrive in Rio, is try a genuine caipirinha (cai-pi-REE-nya). I was exactly the same when I got here – I had indulged in Brazil’s most famous cocktail many times in England, but now I wanted to know what a real one tasted like.
In the two years that have since passed, I have been researching this topic with (ahem) diligence and dedication and today I will share with you some of my findings.
1. Caipirinhas don’t necessarily contain cachaça
When you order a caipirinha in Rio, it is quite normal for your waiter to ask “With cachaça?”. The first time this happened I was confused. Would he ask me if I wanted gin in my gin and tonic? The reason is that many people here have their caipirinhas made with vodka instead of cachaça. “Aha!”, I hear you say, “But that is called a caipiroska (or caipivodka). A caipirinha, by definition, is made with cachaça”. Personally, I agree with you – it’s just that most of the waiters and bar staff in Rio don’t. Every so often, if you don’t specify, a caipivodka will arrive. Don’t say I didn’t warn you!