The Riff

Clairinha Cocktail by Ian Julian

By: Hannah Lee Leidy
Image of Clairinha Cocktail by Ian Julian
Image by Sam Hanna

Try the Clairinha for an easy-going cocktail. Ian Julian from Fritai offers a Caribbean play on the caipirnha, a Brazilian cocktail that combines a sugarcane liqueur called cachaça for with muddled sugar and lime.

He swaps with cachaça for another sugarcane liquor: a Haitian spirit known as clairin. It’s a much more rustic spirit than rum, made using distillation techniques developed in the mid-1700s, and carries the grassy minerality of its terrior.

“It’s like their moonshine,” Julian says. By tapping passion fruit juice as the sweetener, Julian creates a drink that is at once reminiscent of the original caipirinha and distinctly Haitian in flavor.

Recipe by Ian Julian, Fritai, New Orleans, Louisiana

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Makes 1 cocktail

  • 1 lime
  • quartered
  • 1½ ounces clairin
  • ¾ ounce lime juice
  • 1 ounce passion fruit syrup
  • Garnish: lime wedge

In a cocktail tin, muddle lime. Add clairin, lime juice, passion fruit syrup, and ice. Shake, then pour into a rocks glass and garnish with lime wedge.

  • Recipe by Ian Julian, Fritai, New Orleans, Louisiana

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