Cachaca - Not Just For Peasants Anymore
The first time someone mentioned Cachaca to us, we wanted to say "Gesundheit." It turns out they weren't sneezing, however - they were telling us about a rum-like Brazilian spirit that's starting to appear in bars and liquor stores all over the country. Who knew?
Cachaca (kah-SHAH-sah) is a colorless liquor made from sugar cane juice. Regulators in the United States would call it a rum, which is defined here as any spirit distilled to less than 95 percent alcohol made from molasses, sugar cane juice or sugar cane syrup.
In fact, the drink we consider rum is made from molasses and has a higher proof than cachaca, says Ed Hamilton, an importer, author and proprietor of the Ministry of Rum Web site (www.ministryofrum.com).
Cachaca traditionally "has been considered a cheap peasants' drink," Hamilton said by phone last week, several days after the International Cane Spirits Festival Tasting Competition in Tampa. "A lot of it isn't wonderful."
courier-journal.com: Can You Say Cachaca?
Sounds like South American moonshine to us, and after a ringing endorsement like that, of course we ran out and got ourselves a bottle - the review will be posted soon. If you end up with a bottle of the stuff, you should know it's not traditionally drunk straight - it's usually used to make the caipirinha (kye-pee-REEN-yah), where it's mixed with a pantload of sugar and fresh lime juice to make a drink somewhat similar to a Mojito without mint. You can check out a typical recipe at Maria Brazil, and if you don't have any cachaca on hand, go ahead and make one with rum or vodka.
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Posted by Jake Jamieson at April 10, 2006 6:52 AM