Must-Try Cocktail: Where to Find a Caipirinha in Vancouver

The holy-tropical trinity of lime, sugar and spirit is a taste of Brazil.

April 5, 2018

By Jessica Palacio / Photo: SeppySills

We’ve just passed through snowy days, trying to warm up ourselves with a cup of hot chocolate and wondering with each sip: why is summer taking so long to get here? I’m dreaming of mojitos, daiquiris and margaritas…but above all,  the one-and-only caipirinha (pronounced cai-pee-reen-ya). I’m a good Brazilian, after all.

The simplicity of the mix between acidity and sweetness is what makes this cocktail so famous in my home country. Made with Cachaça, a distilled spirit made from fermented sugarcane juice (only available at BC Liquor Store), muddled lime, sugar, you simply swirl everything with some crushed ice and it’s done: the most refreshing drink you’ve ever had. Rumour has it some people used to prepare this recipe to help with Spanish Flu symptoms back in the 20th century; later, the name caipirinha, which means “little peasant,” was invented by landowning farmers in the countryside of Brazil. Luckily, you don’t need to be sick to sip it.

The problem: finding it in Vancouver is almost an impossible mission. But for the good of people and caiprinha lovers (including me) someone had to do this tough job. Here’s where you can enjoy a taste of South America—even on the stormiest of days.


Boteco Brasil

“Boteco” in Portuguese means a small place where people can find traditional foods and spirits. Located in East Van, this typical Brazilian restaurant serves one of the best caipirinhas that I’ve ever had; every time I taste it, I’m reminded of home. A plus is the live music and authentic Brazilians appetizers including coxinha (a small chicken meat covered with a crispy dough), pastel (a distant cousin of empanadas), and traditional dishes such as feijoada.


Baru Latino

A Latin-driven restaurant located in Kitsilano neighbourhood is cozy and intimate place with a “let’s tango” kind of vibe. The menu’s got plenty of options when it comes about traditional Latin cocktails—and of course caipirinha makes an appearance on the list.


The Reef

Though it’s mostly focused on Caribbean food and drinks, here you can uncover the edible treasures of the tropics—including the traditional caipirinha. Tropical plants and kitschy signs round out the playful vacation-y atmosphere.


El Caminos

The welcoming, bustling environment reminds us of typical Latin restaurants where you don’t have to worry about talking and laughing loud, and caipirnha makes an appearance among the robust margarita list.

If you want to try your hand at caipirinha-making at home, it couldn’t be easier:

Ingredients
2oz of Cachaça
1 lime
5 tablespoons of white sugar
Crushed ice

Steps
Carefully cut the lime in wedges. Place the lime and the sugar inside a short thick glass and gently grind using a pestle. Add ice and Cachaça to the mix and stir homogeneously.

Saúde!

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