What is Cachaça?
Pronounced "KA SHA SA", cachaça is a national product of Brazil. It is also the base ingredient of Brazilian national cocktail, caipirinha.
The major difference between cachaça and rum is that rum is usually made from molasses, a by-product from refineries that boil the cane juice to extract as much sugar crystals as possible. And cachaça is made from fresh sugarcane juice that's fermented and distilled.
History of cachaça goes back to 400 year ago when plantation owners began serving the liquid to their slaves after noticing that the drive would increase vigor. It is commonly known that the spirit was first invented by Portuguese settlers in Brazil. Over the years better distilled cachaças were developed and soon people started to drink it on dinner tables in colonial Brazil. Shortly after slavery was banned in 1888, the monarchy was ousted and progressive leaders decleared Brazil a modern Republic, national proide began to sugar throughout the country.
By the 1920s, cachaça had become a symbol of Brazilian identity, produced and consumed throughout the nation by diverse ethic and social groups.
Caipirinhas and other tropical cocktails are usually made with un-aged cachaça. Until now, the only cachaça available in the US were some of Brazil's most ordinary, which sell for $1-$3 US in Brazil.
Aged cachaca come in shades ranging from gold to amber and deserve to be sipped, like a fine tequila or single malt Scotch. In Brazil, artesian cachaça sell anywhere between $15 to $400 per bottle. Today many produces handcrafted, artisan cachaças and they are available in the U.S. market. These cachaças are wood-aged for 2-16 years, with earthy flavors similar to tequila and aromas of balsam, cinnamon and oak. The yellow cachaças are usually aged inside wooden barrels.
Pronounced 'KIE-PUR-REEN-YAH', this fresh, exotic cocktail is becoming as hot among international crowds as it is on Copacabana Beach.
Traditional caipirinha is made with cachaça, sugar, and crushed limes, served over ice. It is always muddled (crushed with a masher or the blunt end of a wooden spoon). Make sure to muddle in a shaker or a sturdy, non-breakable glass. You can also try replacing lime with about 1/2 cup of fresh tangerine, star fruit, passion fruit, peach, pear, pineapple, plum, orange, mango, grape, guava, figs, etc.
Caipirissima is a cocktail like caipirinha, mixed with rum instead of cachaça. If mixed with sake instead of cachaça, the drink is called caipisake.
What is cachaça? While cachaça is labeled as Brazilian rum in the U.S., it stands apart from most rums in both production and taste. Sugarcane is the main ingredient in both spirits, yet rum is made from molasses, a by-product of sugar refineries, while cachaça is distilled from fresh pressed sugarcane juice.
Learn more about cachaça (Source: Beleza Pura, LEBLON Cachaça)