What is Cachaça?

June 21, 2024

What is Cachaça?

Cachaça is a popular Brazilian spirit that is made from fermented sugarcane juice. It is often compared to rum, but there are some key differences between the two. Cachaça is typically distilled at a lower proof than rum, which gives it a unique flavor profile. It is also aged in wooden barrels, which adds depth and complexity to the spirit. In this glossary, we will explore the history of cachaça, how it is made, and some popular cocktails that feature this versatile spirit.

History of Cachaça

Cachaça has a long and storied history in Brazil, dating back to the 16th century when sugarcane was first introduced to the country by Portuguese colonizers. The spirit was originally produced by slaves on sugarcane plantations, who used it as a form of currency and for medicinal purposes. Over time, cachaça became a popular drink among the working class in Brazil, and it is now considered the national spirit of the country.

How is Cachaça Made?

Cachaça is made by fermenting sugarcane juice with yeast and then distilling the liquid to create a high-proof spirit. The spirit is then aged in wooden barrels, typically made from oak or Brazilian woods like amburana or jequitibá. The aging process can range from a few months to several years, depending on the desired flavor profile of the final product. Some cachaças are aged in stainless steel tanks or glass containers to preserve their fresh, grassy flavors.

Types of Cachaça

There are two main types of cachaça: unaged (white) and aged (gold). Unaged cachaça is typically clear in color and has a fresh, grassy flavor with notes of sugarcane. Aged cachaça, on the other hand, is golden or amber in color and has a more complex flavor profile with notes of vanilla, caramel, and wood. Some cachaças are aged in barrels that were previously used to age other spirits, like bourbon or wine, which can impart unique flavors to the final product.

Popular Cocktails with Cachaça

Cachaça is a versatile spirit that can be used in a variety of cocktails, from classic caipirinhas to modern twists on traditional recipes. One popular cocktail featuring cachaça is the caipirinha, which is made with cachaça, lime, sugar, and ice. Another popular cocktail is the batida, which is made with cachaça, fruit juice, and condensed milk. Cachaça can also be used in tropical cocktails like the piña colada or the mojito, adding a unique Brazilian twist to these classic drinks.


In conclusion, cachaça is a unique and versatile spirit that has a long history in Brazil. From its humble beginnings as a form of currency for slaves to its current status as the national spirit of Brazil, cachaça has come a long way. Whether enjoyed neat, on the rocks, or in a cocktail, cachaça offers a complex and flavorful drinking experience that is sure to please even the most discerning palate. So next time you’re looking for a new spirit to try, consider reaching for a bottle of cachaça and exploring the rich flavors and history of this beloved Brazilian spirit.

Tatiana Cesso

As a journalist, I've made it my mission to explore and share stories that inspire, inform, and entertain. You may have stumbled upon my work in esteemed publications such as InStyle, Marie Claire, Bazaar, L’Officiel, and Vogue, among others. Having called the U.S. home since 2010, I've lived in Chicago, LA, and currently, Miami. But my heart always beats to the rhythm of Brazil. It's where I was born and raised, and my love for its culture, people, and energy knows no bounds. To share this passion, I've founded Brazilcore, a platform aimed at bridging the gap between Brazil and English speakers worldwide.