I love sugar-free cocktails and other sugar-free drinks. That’s why I created this Healthy Drink Recipes book (there’s also a Kindle version) and also posted several drink recipes here on my blog (check out these sugar-free summer cocktails as well!) But you’ve got to try this Sugar-Free Cranberry Caipirinha. It’s the perfect tipple for both fall weather and the holidays. Made with cranberries, it’s ideal for seasonal parties, Thanksgiving, and, naturally for Halloween.
Read on to find out how to create a perfect Sugar-Free Cranberry Caipirinha (with some mouth-watering variations!). You’ll find also an alcohol-free version at the end of the post.
Tips for making the Sugar-Free Cranberry Caipirinha
As usual, high-quality ingredients guarantee the best result. Real, sugar-free cachaça, fresh cranberries and good-quality powdered erythritol (such as Confectioner’s Style Swerve) and liquid stevia (I prefer to use NOW® BetterStevia® Glycerite) are the cornerstones of this cocktail. You’ll also need crushed ice: be sure it’s made from filtered water or spring water for the best, freshest taste.
Okay! Here’s how to make this flavorful drink:
Have all the ingredients at hand.
Take a glass (an old-fashioned glass is the recommended style, but I prefer this one: it’s more beautiful). Add the cranberries…
…and the liquid stevia.
Mash well with a muddler or the end of a wooden spoon. I had lost my wooden spoon (!) so I had to give this interesting tool a try. Luckily it worked well.
When all the cranberries are mashed…
…add the crushed ice…
…and the cachaça.
There you go! Easy, isn’t it! Cheers!
My Sugar-Free Cranberry Caipirinha experiments
I’m all about Halloween and scary Halloween recipes. But this time, I wanted to develop an elegant sugar-free cocktail for grown-up Halloween celebrations. I absolutely wanted to create something refreshing involving berries or berry juice. Because it’s fall and they’re in season right now, I’m obsessed with cranberries. And since they have the lowest carb count of all berries, you just have to work them into your low-carb recipes in one form or another.
So I had a couple questions to ponder. I wanted to come up with a tasty drink made with cranberries that would be beautiful to look at—and I had to figure out which hard liquor to use as a base. Naturally, I wanted to make the cocktail as low in carbs as possible, and since spirits don’t have carbs (even though they contain lots of alcohol, and thus, calories), a hard liquor would be the best choice for the base of the drink.
After going through my notes, I found that I had jotted down an idea for a cranberry caipirinha. Aha! There was the answer to my cranberry cocktail cravings! I could use fresh cranberries plus cachaça, and I’d need an appropriate sweetener (the original caipirinha uses sugar) and crushed ice.
The original caipirinha uses lime, but there are dozens of caipirinha versions with different fruits and berries. And for the cachaça, I found after some research that most recipes seemed to use 5 centiliters (50 grams) cachaça.
Since the liquor store here doesn’t carry cachaça, I had to order it specially, and I had it delivered to the liquor store close to our summer house, where I was planning to develop and try out the Sugar-Free Cranberry Caipirinha recipe. I’d never tasted cachaça, so it was about time.
Back at the summer house, I opened the box and took a look at the bottle. Excitedly, I unscrewed the cap and had a long sniff of the stuff. Oh my goodness! I couldn’t remember the last time I’d smelled anything that bad! The smell was really strong and there was an, um, “interesting,” putrid side-note. How on earth could anybody drink something like this!?
After seeing my wry face, my seven-year-old wanted to smell the cachaça, too. Warily, he put his little nose over the bottle. Suddenly, he trembled and jumped backwards, holding his nose. He mumbled he couldn’t ever drink that stuff, even when he was grown up.
I was confused. People seem to love the caipirinha cocktail, which is made with cachaça, so there had to be something magical in it, I thought. Well, I had bought the expensive bottle now, so I didn’t have any other choice except to see how my much-awaited Sugar-Free Cranberry Caipirinha recipe would turn out. My hopes weren’t very high, though…
As a point of reference, I used a blackberry caipirinha recipe. It used 1/2 cup (120 ml) blackberries, which I thought was a lot. I wouldn’t need to use nearly as many of the strongly-flavored, tangy cranberries. Maybe 1/4 cup (60 ml) would suffice. (Fewer berries means fewer carbs as well.)
For the sweetener, I decided to use powdered erythritol. Regardless of a slight cooling note, it’s quite neutral in taste, and thus perfect for this drink. I also chose powdered erythritol because it would dissolve better than erythritol crystals. I order my powdered erythritol from Germany, and it’s not as sweet as, for example, Confectioner’s Style Swerve, which is an American erythritol-based powdered sweetener.
I read that the blackberry caipirinha recipe used two tablespoons sugar. Therefore, I took two tablespoons powdered erythritol (the German brand) and added it to a glass together with the 1/4 cup (60 ml) fresh cranberries.
Since I was developing the recipe in our summer house, I didn’t have a muddler, which I would have had at home. Luckily, I had some wooden spoons, of which I chose the smallest one. (If you only have a big wooden spoon, you can turn it upside-down and muddle the berries with the end of it.)
I mashed the cranberries and the powdered erythritol, making sure that each berry was crushed. Then I added 1/2 cup (120 ml) crushed ice to the glass. I was planning to use 1 cup (240 ml) crushed ice, but when I had added 1/2 cup (120 ml), it looked just perfect, so I stopped there.
At first, I thought I’d add less than the usual 5 cl cachaça, just because I didn’t want my drink that strong. However, I also wanted to see how strong the drink would actually be if I made it in the traditional way with the 5 cl. So I went for it.
To my surprise, it tasted really good! The original bad smell of the cachaça had completely disappeared, and was transformed into a delicious drink. Now that’s what I call magic! Even though the flavor was great, the drink was quite sour, so I added another tablespoon of powdered erythritol. Again, I used the German brand, so I thought a smaller amount of a sweeter brand like Confectioner’s Style Swerve would be enough.
At this point I noticed that the original blackberry caipirinha recipe used only two teaspoons sugar. When I took a look at traditional caipirinha recipes made with lime, they also seemed to use two teaspoons instead of two tablespoons. I had read the recipe wrong in the first place! Instead of two tablespoons, the correct amount of sugar was two teaspoons.
Luckily, in this case, the wrong reading seemed to be the right one: the sour cranberries call for much more sweetener than just two teaspoons. 2-3 tablespoons seemed to be just the right amount. The drink was neither too sour nor too sweet — at least to my taste.
The next day, I wanted to try the recipe again. Together with 1/4 cup (60 ml) cranberries, I added two tablespoons Confectioner’s Style Swerve to a glass and mashed them well. I added 1/2 cup (120 ml) crushed ice and 5 cl cachaça. The taste was really strong, even though I mixed the cachaça well with the other ingredients.
Plus, the glass was bigger this time, so it was barely half full. I thought it looked funny with such a small amount of stuff in it, so I added another 1/2 cup (120 ml) crushed ice. Now the taste was just right and the glass was 3/4 full, which looked much more appropriate.
I saw some undissolved Confectioner’s Style Swerve in the bottom of the glass and was wondering whether it would dissolve better if I used only one tablespoon and added liquid stevia to supply more sweetness. Anyway, using two sweeteners would balance out the sweetness and minimize the possible aftertastes — not that I would have noticed any aftertaste of erythritol here due to the strong flavors.
So I made yet another experiment with 1/4 cup (60 ml) fresh cranberries, 1 tablespoon Confectioner’s Style Swerve, 10 drops liquid stevia, 1 cup (240 ml) crushed ice and 5 cl cachaça. This time, the drink was just perfect in every way!
In the end, I was really surprised that the drink turned out that well that easily. It was just the refreshing, delicious cranberry drink I was aiming at for my fall- and Halloween celebrations!
|Nutrition Information||In Total (recipe makes 1 serving)|
|Net carbs||1.2 g|
Tips for variation
You can replace the powdered erythritol with a high-quality liquid stevia or powdered stevia. I think powdered erythritol works best here together with liquid stevia, but feel free to use another natural sweetener. If pure stevia is your preferred sweetener, you can even play with flavored stevias. Get an even fruitier flavor with pomegranate blueberry stevia, berry stevia, lemon stevia, Valencia Orange stevia, or Tropical Fruit stevia.
Personally, I love the crushed cranberries in this drink; they gather flavor and they are nice to chew on. However, if you prefer your drink smooth, you can use 2 tablespoons 100% cranberry juice instead of whole, crushed cranberries.
For a non-alcoholic version, replace the cachaça with 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon or lime juice and 2 tablespoons water.
If you can’t find cachaça (which is a possibility: I had to order it specially myself, remember!), you can use another hard liquor as a base — although the cocktail won’t technically be called a caipirinha anymore. For example, you can replace the cachaça with vodka and make a cranberry caipiroska, or use rum to make a cranberry caipirissima. Just be sure to choose a hard liquor that doesn’t have any sugar in it.