Cachaça pronounced (ka-sha-sa) is a spirit made from fermented sugarcane juice. It is the national drink of Brazil, but has become very popular here in the UK, especially its signature cocktail the Caipirinha. Cachaça can have an Alcoholic strength of between 38% vol and 54% vol.
Cachaça differs from rum in that most rum is made from molasses. Use of molasses allows for the use of the byproduct of sugar production and a smaller still but has the taste affected by heating. Cachaca can be classified as a “rhum agricole” which is rum produced directly from cane juice. The taste is different from rum though, with its flavours more reminiscent of tequila with earthy, etheral flavours, aromas of balsam, cinnamon and oak..
Cachaca has two main types unaged (white) and aged (golden). Today many smaller producers (Beija Flora , Abela, Germana) create handcrafted, artisan cachaças.
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.
Popular Cachaca’s in the UK are Sagatiba, Beija Flora, Brasilla, Velho Barreiro and Germana.