The Caipirinha: So Good, One American Tourist Had 400 of Them

One guy tries to steal $3,000 worth of the Brazilian cocktail, and we understand why

An odd tidbit passed the news wires this week, about one American tourist who was detained in Brazil after refusing to pay his $7,000 hotel bill. Think that's out of the ordinary? It gets crazier — approximately $3,000 of that bill was spent on the Brazilian national cocktail, the caipirinha. Cue blank stare.

Robert Scott Utley, who stayed in Rio de Janeiro, ordered something close to 400 caipirinhas during his stay, or about 30 per day. (Local media reports add that Utley was usually surrounded by women.) The police caught him as he was trying to board a flight out of the Rio International Airport — trying to escape his hefty bill.

Sounds crazy? It is, but we kind of get it — the caipirinha is a delicious use of the Brazilian rum, cachaça. It's made from fermented sugarcane with a big punch of flavor. It's almost like a daiquiri — rum, sugar, and lime — but the limes are muddled and sugar is often raw, says Fine Cooking.

The easiest way to spice up a caipirinha: add fruit. Thanks to our friends at, we're in no shortage of caipirinha recipes. Our favorite recipes include raspberries, coconut water, strawberries, and cucumbers — yum. Mix one up and relax — you don't have a hefty bill to pay like Utley.

For more recipes like this, subscribe to for the best of all things cocktails and spirits.