Pronounced KA-SHA-SA, Cachaca is the staple alchohol form in Brazil. It is produced ‘only’ there. It is made from the juice of the first pressing of sugarcane. The harvested sugarcane is washed and then pressed through large metal rollers to extract the cane juice. The juice is then passed through a filtration process (to extract any cane fragments or other foreign matter) and then on to fermentation tanks. Much like brandy, most fine cachaças are aged in barrels of European or American oak. The aging process yields a cachaça with a smoother taste and a yellow or caramel color.
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.
Cachaca is ‘the’ main ingredient in many Brazillian cocktails like the Capirinha, Batidas, Bombeirinho, Leite de Onça and Quentão. Capirinha is the most popular and their national drink. An average Brazilian drinks about three gallons of Cachaca annually.