Fill the glass with ice and add the cachaça, giving it a brief stir to combine. Finally, garnish with a wheel of lime for a refreshing finish.
Caster sugar is a better choice for cocktails because the finer crystals dissolve more easily. This is particularly useful in a cocktail like a caipirinha, which doesn't have a lot of liquid or intense mixing.
Don't worry about hunting down a speciality sugar. It's very easy to transform ordinary sugar into caster sugar with a food processor or liquidiser.
Use the recommended range of sugar to customise the cocktail's sweetness to your taste and the cachaça you're pouring. Some cachaças are sweeter than others, and quite a few are aged, so there are times when less sugar creates a better drink.
Though not traditional, simple syrup is a good substitute for caster sugar: use about 0.75oz (22ml) of syrup. Agave nectar and honey syrup can also act as the sweetener.
Be sure to select ripe limes that feel soft when you squeeze them.
The caipirinha, a cocktail hailing from Brazil, has an origin shrouded in a bit of mystery. However, there is a consensus in the academic world that it came about in the depths of São Paulo, Brazil, circa 1918. There are narratives proposing that it could have started as a recipe from the Alentejo region of Portugal, concocted around 1918 for those battling the Spanish flu. This early mix was reported to have included lemon, garlic and honey.
A different theory suggests that the caipirinha is a derivative of poncha, an alcoholic beverage from Madeira, Portugal. The primary ingredient of Poncha is aguardente de cana, derived from sugarcane. The Portuguese relocated sugarcane production from Madeira to Brazil due to land requirements. Before this move, Madeira had already produced aguardente de cana, the forerunner to cachaça.
The caipirinha, as we know it today, is believed to have evolved from these roots. The story goes that someone opted to take out the garlic and honey from the original recipe and introduced a few spoonfuls of sugar to lessen the sharpness of the lime. Ice was the next addition, a defence against the heat. Interestingly enough, it's still employed today as a remedy for the common cold.