Okay, let’s talk pronunciation: it’s KAI-pur-een-YA. There you go, now you too can sound worldy like us. Cachaça is another tough one – it’s pronounced ka-SHA-sa. You could substitute regular rum for cachaça, but we don’t recommend it; this drink is inexorably linked to the grassy, fruity, musty flavors of real sugarcane cachaça. Unaged cachaça is best here, where its vegetal brightness plays off the lime; aged cachaça is tasty, but muted.
The amount of sugar and lime called for is a hot topic of debate among connoisseurs, as is the type of sugar (granulated, syrup, or cubes). Start with a teaspoon of sugar, or two teaspoons of syrup, or a single cube, and increase to taste. If your limes are small, out-of-season, or just not all that sweet and juicy, feel free to use a whole lime instead of just half.
Muddle the limes and sugar in a short glass. Top with ice and cachaça, and stir before serving.