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Citrus Cool for Summer: Caipirinha

May 28, 2009

citrus cool

Kauwela, the Hawaiian summer, has been ablaze for some weeks now, and I find myself fleeing from the midday heat. Of course, nothing beats the heat like a cool cocktail. One of my favorite spiked remedies, the caipirnha, is from Brazil, where it is widely considered the national drink.What’s great is that ingredients are few, and it’s even relatively easy to make with the right tools (you’ll need a pestle). The prime ingredient is cachaça, a kind of Brazilian run made from sugar. Unlike more standard light rums, cachaça seems liveler, bright, and invigorating. While it’s not a standard item at most places on O‘ahu, two brands are available at Tamura’s-my favorite imporium-on Wai‘alae Avenue in Kaimukī. And I’ve even spotted it at Longs’. Two brands I’ve seen in the islands (and subsequently enjoyed) are Leblon and Agua Luca.

After completing your cachaça run, you’ll need to pick up some limes, preferrably organic as the fruit will be goint directly into your glass. Whole Foods in Kāhala or my favorite, Kokua Market in Mō‘ili‘ili, tend to have great organic limes in stock. Besides that, the other two ingredients are standard items – sugar and crushed ice.

But don’t forget to pick up a pestle-a small wooden baton used to crush spices in mortar. My own personal psetle is a Japanese shiribachi I picked up at the Executive Chef down at Ward Warehouse. But as this is Hawai‘i, a pestle of any national origin will due. Of course, a pestle isn’t absolutely necessary. An acquaitance of mine, actually from Brazil and quite familiar with caiprinhas, personally suggested a  bunch of chopsticks held together by a rubber band if you’re ever out of a pestle, so feel free to get creative and pound out your frustrations.

Of course, if hunting down foreign liquor and smashing limes sounds like too much work, rest assured you can let Honolulu’s bar staff do the hard work for you. I suggest heading down to Soul de Cuba , across from the Hawai‘i Theatre, or trying the Caipirinha de Uva at Town in Kaimukī.




  • 1 shot cachaça
  • 1-2 tsp sugar
  • 1 organic lime – sliced into small sections

Wash limes thoroughly, dry, and slice into small sections. (I slice into eights personally.) Add lime and sugar to a highball glass and crush with pestle (or chopstick assemblage, etc.) to release the lime juice. Add crushed ice. Finally add  cachaça. As the drink sits in the heat, the ice will gracefully melt.


Kāhala –  Whole Foods, 4211 Waialae AvenueHonolulu, HI 96816, 808 738 0820

Kaimukī – Tamura’s Fine Wines and Liquours, 3496 Waialae Ave, Honolulu, HI, 808 735 7100 –

Kaka‘ako – Executive Chef, Ward Warehouse, 1050 Ala Moana Blvd # 1560, Honolulu, HI 96814, 808 596 2433

Mō‘ili‘ili –  Kōkua Market, 2643 S. King St ,Honolulu, HI 96826, 808 941 1922

THE EASY ROUTE (For those who prefer to avoid the labor)

Downtown – Soul de Cuba, Bethel Street,1121 Bethel St, Honolulu, HI 96813, 808 545 2822

Kaimukī – Town, Wai’alae Avenue,3435 Waialae Avenue #103, Honolulu, HI 96813, 808 735 5900

[Images by Simeon – stock.xchng]


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