Much like rhum agricole from the French West Indies, Brazil’s national drink is distilled from fermented sugar cane juice, but it’s not called rum, it’s called cachaça (ka-SHAH-sa).
Here in the United States, cachaça has mostly been used to make Brazil’s most famous drink: the caipirinha, but open-minded bartenders are beginning to see beyond the caipirinha. These folks are embracing cachaça’s unique flavor profile and finding ways to incorporate this versatile spirit into a variety uniquely pleasing cocktail creations.
Bartender innovation notwithstanding, I still get a lot of folks who ask me “what’s the best cachaça for a caipirinha?” and until recently, I could only recommend a few brands. Seeking to expand my knowledge of sugar cane spirits from Brazil led me to our latest in the spirit challenge series, in which we blind taste every bottle we can acquire in a category and determine which tastes best.
So without further ado, let’s take the Cachaça Challenge!