The soju caipirinha is a new Korean version of the classic national cocktail of Brazil. This cold cocktail is perfect for the spring and summer months. This tangy, light, and refreshing cocktail is quick, simple, and easy to make. If you like this cocktail, we recommend checking out another soju cocktail recipe: soju and tonic!
South Koreans love to drink alcohol. People in Korea enjoy gathering together to eat, drink, and socialize for all occasions. They gather to celebrate a friend’s new significant other, cry over a failed relationship, discuss business plans, catch up, say goodbye, and more. In other words, people in Korea look for reasons to eat and drink together as friends, family, and coworkers.
Famously, the national liquor of South Korea is soju. By far, it is the most consumed alcohol amongst every Korean generation. Typically, people often enjoy drinking this clear, clean, and slightly sweet liquor neat. Drinking shots of soju is an integral part of Korean society.
To put it in perspective, in 2014 it was reported that South Koreans consumed an average of 13.7 shots of liquor a week. Let’s compare that to other countries: Russians consume an average of 6.3 shots, Americans drink an average of 3.3 shots, Canadians drink an average of 2.5 shots, and the British consume an average of 2.3 shots.
Though drinking straight soju is incredibly popular, soju cocktails are becoming more and more popular as an alternative for shots. So, let’s learn about this new soju cocktail gaining popularity: soju caipirinha.
Before we learn about this soju cocktail recipe, let’s learn about the traditional caipirinha!
What Is the Caipirinha Cocktail?
The caipirinha is the national cocktail of Brazil. While the origin of the caipirinha cocktail is currently unknown, there are some speculations on how it was invented.
One account describes the cocktail as a drink developed in the early 20th century to give to patients sick with the Spanish Flu. Another popular account claims that the drink is based on the Poncha, a popular alcoholic drink from Madeira, Portugal. Either way, the drink’s popularity stems from its refreshing and light flavors!
To make this drink, you mix cachaça (sugarcane hard liquor) with sugar and lime. Typically, people make a large batch in a glass or pitcher that they can then share amongst a large group of people. From this large pitcher, they would serve everyone the drink in individual glasses.
The name of this drink, caipirinha, is rooted from the word caipira. In Brazilian Portuguese, caipira refers to some from the countryside. Most commonly, it refers to someone from the south-central countryside of Brazil.
Caipirinha Cocktail Variations
Since its inception, many variations of caipirinha cocktails have developed over time as the drink became more and more popular outside of Brazil. Typically, they make variations by substituting the cachaça with different types of liquors. Some well-known variations include:
- Caipiroska: A variation made using vodka instead of cachaça.
- Sakerinha: A variation made using sake instead of cachaça. For those who do not know, sake is a Japanese rice wine alcohol.
- Caipirissima: A variation made using rum instead of cachaça.
- Italian Caipirinha: A variation using campari instead of cachaça. Campari is an Italian Apéritifs liqueur made by infusing herbs and fruit in alcohol and water.
- Capinheger: A variation made using Steinhäger instead of cachaça. Steinhäger is a type of German gin made with juniper berries.
- Caipirão: Another Portuguese version made using Licor Beirão instead of cachaça. Licor Beirão is a type of liquor made from distilling different types of seeds and herbs such as mint, cinnamon, cardamom, and lavender. It is very sweet even without added sugar.
Finally, we have a newer variation gaining popularity in South Korea as a cocktail: Soju Caipirinha. For this recipe, you replace the cachaça with the popular Korean soju liquor! So, let’s jump into learning how to make this recipe!
Soju Cocktail Recipe: Soju Caipirinha
Like we said above, soju is the national alcohol of South Korea. In Korea, they make this clear distilled liquor using different ingredients such as rice, tapioca, and sweet potato. Once distilled, filtered, and diluted, soju tastes fresh and slightly sweet. Typically, Koreans enjoy drinking soju with spicy foods as well as with fatty foods such as samgyeopsal (Korean barbecue pork belly) or gopchang (Korean grilled intestines).
Also, like we stated above, Koreans typically drink soju as a shot. Though that is the case, soju cocktails are becoming more popular as an option for those who cannot drink straight liquor very well or want to drink more slowly. Recently, the soju caipirinha cocktail has started becoming popular in bars.
This particular cocktail works so well with Korean food because it is light and refreshing. Paired with spicy and fatty foods, it acts as a palate cleanser so that you can continue to enjoy eating.
Let’s learn how to make soju caipirinha below!
Soju Caipirinha Recipe
To make this cocktail, start by cutting 1/2 of your lime into slices. Then, place your lime and 1 TSP of sugar into your cocktail shaker. With the muddler, gently press the limes to release the juice. Then, place your crushed ice cubes and soju into the shaker. Next, shake all the ingredients together. Finally, pour into a glass and garnish with more lime. Remember, you are replacing the traditional cachaça with soju for this Korean-style caipirinha recipe!
In the end, this recipe is really simple and easy. It takes less than 5 minutes to make! Soon, you will be sipping on a deliciously light, refreshing, and sweet drink!
What Does Soju Caipirinha Taste Like?
To me, soju caipirinha is the perfect spring and summer drink. If you like gin and tonic, mint julep, spiked lemonade, and other light cocktails, you will like soju caipirinha.
This cocktail is tangy and citrusy from the limes. The soju makes the drink clean and refreshing. Finally, the sugar adds sweetness to the drink. Be careful when drinking this. Because it is light and refreshing, you may forget that it is alcoholic. While weaker than vodka at 40%, soju does have a much higher alcohol content the bear or wine. Typically, the alcohol content of soju is approximately 20%.
Soju Cocktail Recipe Tips:
Below are some helpful tips for this soju cocktail recipe. If you have any questions about the recipe, feel free to also leave a comment below!
- If you do not have a crushed ice machine, you can make your own crushed ice! First, place your ice into a plastic bag. Then, seal the bag. Next, cover the Ziplock bag with a kitchen dish towel. Finally, with the bottom of a pan or a rolling pin, hit the bag of ice until you crush the ice into little pieces!
- If your lime is still hard, press and roll it on the cutting board before slicing into it. This way, the flesh loosens and you will find slicing and muddling easier.
- When cutting the lime, I recommend first cutting the lime lengthwise. Then, slice the lengthwise section into small pieces. This makes the lime easier to muddle and fit into the glass.
Do You Have a Favorite Soju Cocktail Recipe?
Do you like our soju caipirinha recipe? If so, we would love to hear about it in the comment section below! Also, please let us know if you have any soju cocktail recipes you enjoy!
Note: If you want to learn about the history of soju, check out our article about another soju cocktail recipe: soju and tonic. In that post, we discussed the history of soju in South Korea.
For Further Korean Drink Recipes Try:
For Korean Food Recipes, We Recommend:
- Korean Tuna Mayo Rice
- Korean Tuna and Kimchi Triangle Kimbap
- Mayak Eggs (Korean Marinated Eggs)
- Maneul Jangajji (Korean Pickled Garlic); and
- Sangchu Geotjeori (Korean Romaine Lettuce Salad)
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