While in Sao Paulo we are quite the fan of Brazil’s national cocktail: the Caipirinha. Made with Cachaça, Brazil’s most popular distilled liquor, sugar and lime. Cachaça is like rum in that it also comes from sugarcane, but the two alcohols differ, for a few specific reasons. Cachaça comes from the fermented juice of sugarcane, and most (but not all) rum comes from molasses, which is a byproduct of sugar production. There’s more nuance than that, however. The Brazilian government requires cachaça to have an alcohol content of 38 to 54 percent and must contain at least 50 percent of distillate that’s at least one year old. Brazil has been making cachaça since mid-1500s, and it is an integral part of the country’s culture. Thus it is important to Brazil that it distinguish its national alcohol from rum, whose roots date back to the Caribbean in the 17th century. While the standard Caipirinha is simply cachaça, sugar and lime, you can spice up the standard recipe in a number of ways. You might add different fruits or fruit juices — like passionfruit or strawberry — or you could also add herbs — like mint or basil. Once you start drinking Caipirinhas, you probably won’t want to stop, so relish the classic and then try out some of these other delicious alternatives: Classic Caipirinha Ingredients 1 lime, quartered 4 teaspoon white sugar 4 ounces cachaca sparking water to top Instructions In a cocktail shaker, muddle together the quartered limes and sugar. Muddle until all the juice is extracted from the limes and mixed with the sugar. Add the cachaca and some ice and secure the shaker lid and shake for 30 seconds. Pour the liquid into 2 ice filled glasses and top with a quick pour of sparkling water. Ginger Caipirinha Ingredients 24 1/4-inch-thick slices peeled fresh ginger 3/4 to 1 1/2 cups sugar 12 limes, quartered, plus thin wedges for serving 1 bottle (750 ml) cachaca Place 2 ginger slices and 1 to 2 tablespoons sugar in each of 12 tumblers. Use a muddler to mash ginger. Add a quartered lime to each; crush with muddler. Fill glasses with coarsely crushed ice, add a scant 1/4 cup cachaca to each, and stir well. Squeeze lime wedges into glasses and serve. Passion Fruit Caipirinha Yes, We named our Maracuja shirt after this one Ingredients 1/2 medium passion fruit 2 tablespoons sugar Crushed ice 2 ounces cachaca Sugar cane stick, for garnish STEP 1 Scoop out flesh and seeds of passion fruit and transfer to a mixingglass or cocktail shaker along with sugar, and cachaca. STEP 2 Shake over ice and pour into an 8-ounce glass. Garnish with sugar cane stick.