Cacha?a is just beginning to make its mark worldwide. However, this New World spirit is hardly new. In 1532, the Portuguese moved sugar production to Brazil and distillation of the plant into cacha?a began shortly thereafter. Today, cacha?a is the most popular spirit in Brazil with thousands of brands in existence that range from the cheap and plentiful to the rare bottlings that cost hundreds of dollars. Just like whiskey and beer, many cacha?a brands are part of a craft movement that is gaining momentum. Only few brands were exported historically, but even small-production, artisanal cacha?a can be found on the world’s shelves today.
Cacha?a is made from cane juice pressed straight out of raw sugarcane stalks. The fresh juice is fermented and then distilled into the beloved Brazilian beverage. Some rums, usually labeled as Rhum Agricole, are made in the same way, earning cacha?a the name “Brazilian rum” in certain places. The major difference between cacha?a and common rum is in the juice: most rum is distilled from sugarcane juice that has been processed into molasses, which has a higher sugar content. This makes cacha?a have a more grassy, herbaceous flavor than its relative.
Cacha?a will be colored white if unaged and golden if aged. Whether aged for three or fifteen years, the darker color usually implies premium quality, but flavor and color varies widely depending on the type of wood used and the time spent barrel aging.
HOW TO DRINK CACHA?A:
White-colored cacha?a is usually used as a mixer or in cacha?a-based cocktails, the most famous of which is the Caipirinha. Golden or dark cacha?a is best enjoyed straight.
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