The Brazilian Spirit
Cachaça is a Brazilian distillate made from fresh pressed sugarcane juice, rather than sugarcane syrup or molasses. Some other styles, especially Rhum Agricole from the French Caribbean islands, are also made from sugarcane juice. This is why Cachaça is also known as Brazilian Rum.
History and production
Cachaça is a unique and important part of Brazilian culture, dating back to the 16th century when the Portuguese introduced sugarcane to the country. The crop was initially used to produce sugar, but distillation methods were developed over time and Cachaça was born. After distillation, the liquor is mostly drunk unaged in cocktails. The drink may also be aged, usually in barrels usually made from Brazilian woods such as jequitibá or amburana, which impart unique characteristics into the final product.
One drink. Many varieties
The numerous different varieties all have their own unique flavour profiles, with classifications based on the type of distillation process. For example, industrial Cachaça is made using column stills, which produce a lighter and more neutral flavour. Artisanal Cachaça, in contrast, is crafted in copper pot stills for a richer and more complex spirit. Some Cachaças are aged in barrels for several years, during which time they will again take on a greater complexity and depth of flavour, while unaged versions offer a brighter and fresher flavour.
In the glass - and beyond
Cachaça is a highly versatile spirit that can be enjoyed neat, on the rocks, or in cocktails such as the legendary Caipirinha. In Brazil, Cachaça is also commonly used in cooking, adding flavour to dishes such as feijoada (a traditional bean stew), seafood dishes, and desserts.
Export and regulations
While Cachaça is produced and mostly consumed in Brazil, it is also exported to other countries, most notably the United States, Germany, and the United Kingdom. In 2013, the drink was recognised as a Geographical Indication (GI) product by the Brazilian government. This means that only that produced in Brazil can legally be called Cachaça and must adhere to certain production standards.