When you think about Cachaça, you probably think about the most famous cocktail to be made with it, the Caipirinha. Probably better known as a Brazilian Mojito, the name Caipirinha literally means ‘country little girl’ and it originates from the countryside around São Paulo.
Like so many other cocktails, there are various stories about the origins of this drink but what we do know is that it was a medicinal drink that developed around the early 19th century. A base spirit and citrus combination is an old yet common drink developed to fight maladies from flu to scurvy.
But although the Caipirinha is the typical drink made with Cachaça it certainly isn’t the only thing you can do with the spirit. In fact, Cachaça can now be found on the back bars around the world and many bartenders using the spirit for a variety of drinks outside its native Brazil.
But what is Cachaça? Well, like rum, cachaça (pronounced kə-ˈshä-sə) comes from the sugarcane plant, a liquor distilled from fermented sugarcane juice, which is usually bottled between 38 and 54 percent alcohol by volume.
You could think of Cachaça as being a much more cachaça is a much more rudimentary spirit than rum, but because it’s distilled from raw sugarcane, it retains a grassy, sulfurous, earthy quality that rum lacks.
Its history is a little troubled, as it was first consumed by Brazilian slaves. The word Cachaça actually comes from African captives who worked in sugarcane mills. When sugarcane was boiled (the first step in producing sugar), the slaves took the foam and fermented it, naming the froth “cachaça.”
But soon, the spirit spread throughout Brazil, among poor and wealthy alike, to the point that the Portuguese government actually banned the consumption of the spirit on June 12, 1744 (a date that is now International Cachaça Day).
Even with the ban, it didn’t take long for Cachaça to become a source of national pride within Brazil’s lower classes and in the early 1800s, during the promise of the colonial revolution, even Brazil’s elite drank the spirit as a symbol of national solidarity.
Since those times, Cachaça has become the third most-produced spirit in the world, falling right behind vodka and shochu. One way to think of it, is that Cachaça is to Brazil what Tequila is to Mexico.
More than just Brazilian Rum, Cachaça can be used in a wide variety of drinks. It’s not as sweet as rim but if the cocktails we have listed are anything to go by, just as delicious.