Food

Brazil's National Drink: Cachaça

The World Cup finals are fast approaching and whatever team will be the victor of this international football tournament, celebratory drinks will soon be in order.

cachaça bottles
Cachaça bottles by Danny Botelho under creative commons licence.

The most popular and festive cocktail in Brazil is of course the caipirinha, of which its main ingredient is a rum-like liqueur called cachaça. This Brazilian spirit is made by distilling sugarcane. It’s similar to rum, but the major difference is that cachaça is made directly from sugarcane juice while rum is made from molasses. It also has a very different flavour which makes the smooth taste of cachaça unique.

Sugar cane
Sugar cane – photo by Rod under creative commons licence.

The production of cachaça is believed to have started soon after sugarcane was introduced into Brazil by the Portuguese. It started out as being a drink for the poor and was solely drunk by natives and slaves. Nowadays you can find bars purely dedicated to the drink on almost every corner of major Brazilian cities, sometimes offering hundreds of different types. In fact Brazilians covet their national beverage so much that they have come up with over 2,000 highly original nicknames for it. Some of my favourites are: abre-coração (heart-opener), apaga-tristeza (sorrow-be-gone), and faz-xodó (sweetheart-maker).
Cachaça comes in two varieties, so it’s either white and unaged or brown and aged. The brown version is smoother and can be drunk on its own.

caipirinhas
Caipirinhas

Of course, no one will stop you turning it into a refreshing caipirinha cocktail and here’s how:
1. Squeeze the limes into a glass or if you have a grinder, grind them in the glass and leave the fruits in.
2. Add raw sugar, three teaspoons for 1 cocktail should do.
3. Add ice cubes and the cachaça.
4. Sit back, relax and enjoy.

Learning how to the mix the perfect caipirinha is featured on several of our South American trips passing through Brazil. Find our more on our website www.trafalgar.com.

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