The caipirinha, by the official numbers

Brazil's national drink is the caipirinha, a cachaça-based cocktail. As its popularity grows, Brazilian governmental types want to be sure it remains pure and no one rips it off with cheap imitations.

Thus, official government regulations have been issued to guide the creation and sale of the cocktail.

It's difficult to come across the full text of the rules, but I managed to dig them up for you. Trouble is, they're in Portugese, a language not much in use in North America and Europe. So, I ran them through an online translator.

Here's the literal robotic translation. Don't blame me for the confusing and stilted language:


Article 1: The present Technical Regulation has as an objective establish the standards of identity and quality to the which should obey the caipirinha.

Article 2: The present Technical Regulation applies itself to the caipirinha traded in all the national territory, as also to that traded in the outside. In case you're the sort of person who insists on seeing original documentation and may not trust the translation, here are the rules in the original Portugese:

Article 3: Caipirinha is the typical beverage of Brazil, with alcoholic graduation of fifteen to thirty-six percent in volume, to twenty ranks Celsius, elaborate with white rum, lemon and sugar, being able to to be added of water for stardandization of the alcoholic graduation and of additives.

Unique paragraph. It will be named of caipirinha the definite beverage in the caput of this article prepared by means of adequate technological trial that assure to his presentation and conservation to the moment of the consumption.

Article 4: The ingredients utilized in the output of the caipirinha are:

A) basic ingredients - white rum, lemon and sugar:

1. the sugar here permitted is to sacarose - sugar crystal or sugar refined -, that will be able to to be replaced total or partially by sugar reversed and glucose, in quantity not over hundred and fifty grams by liter and not lower to ten grams by liter, not being able to to be replaced by edulcorantes synthetic or natural;

2. the lemon utilized will be able to to be added in the form dehydrated and should be present in the most minimum proportion of a lemon juice percent with at least five percent of acidity
titulável in express, citric acid in grams for hundred grams;

B) optional ingredient - water:

1. the water utilized should obey to the norms and to the standards approved by the specific legislation for drinking water and be conditioned, exclusively, to the stardandization of the alcoholic graduation of the final product.

Art. 5: The alcoholic beverage and to not alcoholic utilized in the elaboration of the slam should attend to his respective standard of identity and definite quality in the in force legislation, case exist."

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Mauricio Maia said...

Dear William:

Besides the "robotic" translation, as a cachaça specialist the only point that I'd like to remark (on) is that caipirinha is made ONLY with cachaça and not with rum.

The translators usually change cachaça to rum, which is wrong. Cachaça and rum are not the same thing.

Mauricio Maia
www.ocachacier.com.br (in Portuguese)

Bill Dowd said...


Right you are. I've written often on cachaça without making that mistake. I merely offered up an "official" translation of the regulations.

Nevertheless, thank you for taking the time to reinforce the distinction for our readers.