Latin Twist: The Kiwi Caipirinha


What is a caipirinha? Aside from being Brazil’s national cocktail, it’s a sultry burst of springtime flavors, blended with samba and all I adore about the biggest country in South America. I’m in love with Brazil, and dreaming about my next visit.  Another sip of caipirinha…

So, why do Iove caipirinhas so much? Because they bring a bit of Brazil to me, here in New York during this, the first days of spring.  Muito obrigada (many thanks!) a meus queridos amigos brasileños,  and former students (along with my favorite vendors on Gramatan Avenue in Mount Vernon) who also bring me the brand of energy I crave. (And oh, I promise, that if you give me a few weeks in Brazil, I will turn my Portoñol into Portuguese…)

Kiwi Caipirinha

Caipirinha photo by Dasha Wright for Mambo Mixers!

In the meantime, I’m sharing a version of caipirinha that I first enjoyed several years ago in São Paulo and wrote about in Mambo Mixers. This, the kiwi caipirinha, is a spring-fresh, colorful and tasty interpretation; it’s a perfect early-in-spring cocktail. ¡Buen provecho! Enjoy!

Latin Twist: The Kiwi Caipirinha

Yield: 1 serving

Kiwi caipirinhas are great spring and summertime cocktails! You can prepare the kiwi ahead of time and store in in airtight containers for up to a couple of days. If you're making more than one at a time, simply double to make two at a time. I've made pitchers, but it's a tasting thing more than a measuring thing! My advice? Make one first--so you know what it should taste like--and then go from there...


  • 1 kiwi, peeled, quartered, plus 1 clase for garnish
  • 1 teaspoon superfine sugar, or to taste
  • 2 ounces cachaça (Brazilian rum available at large liquor stores--I like Canario or the more expensive, Leblon)
  • Ice cubes


  1. Place the kiwi and sugar in a tall bar glass.
  2. Use a pestle or the end of a wooden spoon to mash the kiwi and sugar together.
  3. Add the cachaça and stir.
  4. Add ice, cover, and shake.
  5. Pour into a glass, garnish with the kiwi and lime slice, and serve immediately.


About Author

Maybe it was the dinner parties my mom always threw—or the hours I spent prepping and cooking alongside her (and then on my own!). Or maybe it was array of fabulous dishes that my family sampled in New York City’s richly diverse restaurants, but I’ve loved creating, savoring, and sharing food for as long as I can remember. Living in Spain, and later in Peru, also greatly influenced my life. These years abroad taught me Spanish—and about living in different countries--but also introduced me to teaching English as a second language, which I’ve done—mostly in the US-- for the past 20-plus (yikes!) years. I’ve authored two cocktail/tapas books, Mambo Mixers and Calypso Coolers, coauthored more than 15 others (mostly food related!), and raised two children. Now I'm chef and owner of my own restaurant, Mambo 64 in Tuckahoe, New York. My message is the same, whether I'm teaching, writing, running the restaurant or being a regular guest on the Spanish-language network Telemundo (on the morning show, Buenos Días Nueva York!). My belief in food—and the power of food—is far reaching, and is married with another one: the power of stories. I’m sure that if we could all sit down and have meals together, sharing both tastes and tales, we’d have peace on earth. Enjoy!

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