Catching up with cachaça

Thousands of microdistilleries are helping to change the face of Brazil’s national spirit, creating aged and wood-blended expressions that are pulling in new fans.

If life gives you limes, make Caipirinhas. The sweet yet zingy cocktail muddled with the green citrus fruit, white cachaça and sugar fuels Brazilians and, given that they consume 99% of the 800 million litres of the spirit produced in their country each year, it seems they rather like it. 

But there’s more to this raw sugarcane juice distillate whose ambassadorial vehicle is the delicious Caipirinha. Microdistilleries located all over the world’s fifth-largest country age their base white or pure cachaça (also known as pinga and abre-coração, or heart opener) in casks made of local wood, also blending barrels to create new levels of expression – and their efforts are enhancing the flavour wheel of what the IWSR calls the world’s third-most consumed spirit. It’s an exciting time to be a connoisseur, says Peter Banks, founder of Cachacier, a cachaça experience, and a US transplant living in capital city Brasilia. 

“Over the past 15 to 20 years, several elements have come together to move cachaça forward: producers interested in making high-quality spirits; access to technological knowledge to create them; and a public interested in a uniquely Brazilian spirit,” he says. 

For the rest of this please visit Drinks International, September 2022.

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