Your Guide to Brazil’s Favorite Spirit
by Kayleigh Kulp
Brazil’s fiery personality is personified in cachaça (ka-SHA-sah), its native sugarcane spirit that serves as the main ingredient for the caipirinha, the country’s national cocktail. Although cachaça is a type of rum dating back to the 16th century when the Portuguese brought sugarcane from Madeira, it wasn’t until 2013 that it was recognized as a distinctive Brazilian spirit under United States law. Made only from fermented sugarcane juice (rather than molasses, like many Caribbean rums) in copper pot stills, cachaça offers light, airy and nuanced flavors.
It is important to note the difference between artisanal and industrial cachaças, the first one being more upscale. By Brazilian law, cachaça is defined as a beverage with an alcohol content between 38-54% by volume made from the distillation of fresh sugarcane juice. Although it is a light spirit, cachaça has a dark past. Cachaça’s history is inextricably tied to slavery in Brazil, when African slaves worked the sugarcane fields. Cachaça is the third-most consumed spirit in the world and dates back to the 1500s, preceding rum, which didn’t start production until the 1600s.
GAYOT’s list of the Best Cachaças range in age and flavor, yet each is balanced and refined enough to enjoy neat or mixed in a cocktail.
Cocktail Recipe: Cabana Caipirinha
2 oz. Cabana Cachaça
1 tbsp. granulated sugar
1 lime, quartered
Splash of club soda
Method: In a rocks glass, muddle 1 lime (quartered) and 1 tbsp. of granulated sugar. Add 2 oz. Cabana Cachaça and ice. Shake and top with a splash of club soda.
Fruity and packing a punch, Agua Luca cachaça deserves a place in your home bar.
Distilled twelve times, vodka lovers will appreciate its bite alongside soda and lime. It can also stand up to the sour-and-sweet flavor in a caipirinha, Brazil’s national cocktail. This cachaça will be sure to add zing to your tropical concoctions.
Sourced from a single estate right outside of Rio de Janeiro, the distillate is aged two years in native Amburana wood casks, giving the cachaça its light golden color.
Strong aromas of cinnamon and gingerbread make it perfect in a holiday punch and it certainly punches on the palate, with cranberry and honeysuckle flavors offering a light, short to medium finish.