Carnival is fast approaching. In Latin America this means at least one week (sometimes carnival can last for several weeks!) of colourful celebrations, dancing, long nights and cultural traditions that have been passed down from generation to generation. North America isn’t too different, with Mardi Gras offering a similarlyhedonistic week of parties and traditions, and then there’s the European carnival celebrations in Belgium, Germany, Italy and the Netherlands, all with their own take on how to celebrate this particular festivity.
One element that unites them all though, is the need for a good drink to fuel the party. Here is our selection of some of our favourite Carnival cocktails. Let the party commence!
Despite its tough-to-pronounce name (the right way to say it is “kypeeREEnyah”), the
Caipirinha is becoming more and more popular around the globe. It’s a Brazilian cocktail, a
simple mixture of cachaça (a Brazilian spirit made from sugarcane juice), ice and lime. Popular
worldwide brands of cachaça include Sagatiba and Leblon (which is made using a distillation
process similar to that used to make Cognac in France and so has a far more refined flavour
than most cachaças). In Brazil you will often find caiprinhas being made with the very cheap
brands of 51 or Ypioca. In truth, they all taste good, such is the magic of the Caipirinha.
12 tbsp golden caster sugar
1kg ice cubes, crushed
The recipe for a Caipirinha is very simple and all about proportions and preparation. Cut the top
and bottom off all the limes to begin with. Then chop the limes in half, cutting just to the side of
the core. Cut in half once more, again cutting to the side of the core. Then, remove the slither of
pith that runs down the core and cut everything left into roughly equal chunks. Put the lime
pieces and all of the sugar into a large jug and muddle the ingredients (use a dull implement, like
a rolling pin, if you don’t have a muddler). The key to this part of the process is to squeeze the
juice out of the limes without breaking the skin of the fruits, as that can make the drink bitter. So
muddle the lime and sugar gently for a minute or two, then add the ice cubes and cachaça and
give it a really good shake. And that’s it. Your caipirinha is now ready to be poured.
If you can’t get hold of cachaça you could always use vodka (making the drink a caipiroska) orsake (known as a caipisake). Additionally, passion fruit, kiwi, mango or pineapples are some common alternatives or additions to lime if you fancy changing the recipe
Batida de Coco
Another delicious Brazilian cocktail is the Batida de Coco. This is one of many different batidas
that are popular in Brazil; batida meaning milkshake or, more literally, shaken. These are made
from fruit juice, sugar and cachaça, though sometimes coconut milk or condensed milk will be
added or used in place of the fruit juice. They are prepared in a blender (such as the Omega
Blender) and served over crushed ice. They are fresh, great for energy and very adaptable. Our
favourite is the Batida de Coco, which is made with coconut milk instead of fruit juice.
50 ml coconut milk
25 ml cachaça
25 ml condensed milk
12oz crushed ice
Blend all of the ingredients, including the crushed ice, in a blender. Alternatively, if you don’t own
a blender, they could simply be shaken together. Pour into long glass and serve with straws.
Other common batidas are made with passion fruit (batida de maracujá) and cashew juice
(batida de caju). The latter of which is hard to find outside of Brazil. As with the caipirinha, vodka
or sake are often used instead of cachaça, especially outside of Brazil where vodka is more
This is one of New Orleans’ most iconic drinks and dates back to Pat O’Brien’s bar in the 1940s,
when the owner had been told by his distributors that if he wanted to buy any whiskey he’d also
need to buy a case of rum too. With no apparent market for rum the owner came up with a
recipe that combined the spirit with lemon juice and passion fruit syrup. These days it is hard to
find the cocktail in its purest form in New Orleans as many places use the easilyavailable
cocktail mix, but as long as you can find passionfruit syrup you should have no trouble making
one just like Pat O’Brien’s. The key to a good one is finding a good dark Jamaican rum.
50ml dark Jamaican rum
25ml fresh lemon juice
25ml passion fruit syrup
Shake all ingredients with ice and strain into ice filled glass.
We recommend Appleton Extra or Appleton Reserve as the best Jamaican rum for this cocktail.
Many people prefer lime instead of lemon, so feel free to experiment that way too.
Carnival is not just celebrated in Brazil, but all across Latin America, with famous carnivals
happening in Colombia, Uruguay, Peru, Bolivia and the Caribbean too. One of the drinks, hailing
from Cuba, which you will find being drunk in vast quantities at all of these carnivals is the Cuba
Libre. Made from Coke, lime and ice this is one of the simplest and most ubiquitous cocktails in
the world, and great for having a party
50ml white rum
12.5m freshly squeezed lime juice
Pour ingredients into an icefilled glass, filling the glass to the top with coke and serve with
Essentially a Cuba Libre is just a rum and coke, but the addition of the lime juice adds a layer of
complexity and balances the sweetness of the Coke to make it one of our favourite cocktails.