Cachaça je brazilský destilát ze šťávy z cukrové třtiny. Výroba probíhá podobně jako u agricole rumů, ale rozdíl je v délce fermentace. Ta u Cachaçy probíhá až 3 týdny. Do Cachaçy se během fermentace také mohou přidávat obilí nebo rýže a destiluje se na 38 – 54%. Cachaça je zároveň brazilský národní nápoj a vyrábí se z ní známý drink Caipirinha.

The taste of cachaça can be raw upfront, earthy, vegetal, and floral, though with 5,000 (mostly small and family-owned) distilleries lining the country from north to south, and 30 different varieties of wood to age it in, flavors vary significantly.

Carlos Lima, executive director of theBrazilian Institute of Cachaça, cites “the use of an immense variety of types of wood typical of each of Brazil’s regions such as amburana, jequitibá, amendoim (purpleheart), balsam, ipê, freijó, eucalyptus,  castanheira, in addition to several other varieties besides the standard oak.” In an email, he said he believes this range “enhances the enormously rich and differentiated flavors in cachaça.”

Though the United States lists cachaça as a sub-category of rum — something Lima is fighting to change — it is at least one of the few countries to recognize Brazil’s exclusive claim to it so far. That doesn’t mean anyone else challenges the denomination of origin or the history of cachaça as America’s original spirit. Lima traces the first distillation to a sugar mill located somewhere along Brazil’s approximately 4,600-mile coastline between 1516 and 1532.

“Thus, it was the first distilled beverage to be made in Latin America, preceding the development of spirits such as pisco, tequila, bourbon, and rum,” he writes.

Norteamericanos know cachaça primarily as the base for Brazilian caipirinhas, but some of the aged versions sip nicely on their own. It can also swap in for traditional spirits in a variety of classic cocktails including MojitosMartinis, and Margaritas.

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