This blackberry caipirinha has a bold hue and complex fruity flavor for a cocktail that’s sure to brighten your happy hour. In the drink’s native land of Brazil, infused caipirinhas traditionally involve a generous dose of passion fruit, pineapple, strawberry, or another easy-to-muddle local seasonal fruit that pairs with freshly squeezed lime juice and cachaça. Any ripe berries you run into at the farmers market will work especially well—their juice-to-pulp ratio is ideal for this application.
Cachaça, Brazil’s national spirit, is distilled from fermented sugarcane juice as opposed to molasses—a by-product of the sugar refining process that’s distilled into rum—and clocks in at a respectable 80 proof. Cachaça’s flavor profile is sweeter, fruitier, and cleaner than rum, and every bit as suited for a fruity hot weather cocktail. You can use either branca (unaged) or amarela (aged in indiginous Brazilian wood for at least one year) in your caipirinha. If you enjoy barrel-aged spirits like bourbon and tequila, cachaça amarela will be a welcome new addition to your home bar. Fresh out of rum and no time to run out to a specialty wine and spirits shop for a bottle of cachaça? Worry not—you can easily substitute vodka and make this vibrant cocktail into a caipiroska without losing any of the drink’s wonderful tropical vibe.
Keep in mind that this blackberry caipirinha requires a good, fierce muddling to extract all the flavor from the berries and lime wedges, but the juice in this case is especially worth the squeeze. If you don’t have a wood, plastic, or stainless steel muddler, use a sturdy wooden spoon, mortar and pestle, French rolling pin, or even an ordinary dowel (but make sure your alternative muddler is very clean before you start). If you want to do it the fancy way, crush the berries thoroughly with a tablespoon or so of cold water, then strain out the seeds through a fine mesh sieve before proceeding with the drink.
If you like, run a little water or a squeezed lime wedge around the rim of the rocks glass using your finger, then dip it into a shallow plate of granulated sugar before you pour in the cocktail to give it a pretty edge and a welcome touch of extra sweetness. —MissGinsu
Test Kitchen Notes
A classic caipirinha is made with cachaça, sugar, and fresh lime juice. MissGinsu's version doesn't stray far: She adds fresh blackberries, which dye the drink a deep purple. It's bright and a little austere. This recipe calls for one teaspoon of sugar, but you may want to add more to taste if your blackberries are particularly tart. Add any extra sugar after the drink’s initial shaking, then shake it again to fully dissolve the added sugar. If you can't find cachaça, you can use white rum. —The Editors
- Prep time 5 minutes
- Serves 1
lime, cut into 3 wedges
- In a shaker or pint glass, thoroughly muddle the blackberries and sugar with two of the lime wedges.
- Add the cachaça and ice, then cover tightly and shake vigorously for at least 10 seconds to dissolve the remaining sugar.
- Remove and discard the crushed lime wedges. Pour the cocktail into a rocks glass (rimmed with sugar, if you like), and garnish with the remaining lime wedge.