To say “Cachaça” is just as to say “Brazil”. This hard liquor was born as a slave beverage, which probably was discovered by pure chance, it comes from the foam that appears when boiling the cane, during the process of elaboration and refinement of the sugar. Slaves and animals were fed with it to endure the hard conditions in which they lived. In time, the process was refined and the wealth classes begin to appreciate it.
In Brazil there are two type of Cachaça very differentiated for the local people: industrial and artisanal. The industrial one is seen as cheap liquor, made in really big column stills. The artisanal one, on the other hand, has a refined elaboration process which includes pot stills and aging in local woods barrels. During the XVIIIth Century it reached such a big popularity levels that even the Portuguese authorities began to look at this spirit as a threat for their own liquors, reaching a high point on June 12th of 1744, when they banned its consumption. That made the Cachaça to become in time a symbol for all the Brazilian lower class people. During the revolution at the beginning of the XIXth Century, all the people in Brazil wanted to drink Cachaça, even the society’s elite drunk it as a symbol of solidarity with the people. Even though most of the Cachaça is consumed in Brazil (about 99% of the production), it s known for abroad is for being part of the “Caipirinha”, a delicious cocktail made with this spirit, sugar and lime juice. Although there are other versions like “Caipiroska”, which uses Vodka instead of Cachaça, it is one of the most consumed cocktails all around the world. If you ever have the pleasure to talk with a Brazilian, never confuse the national spirit with rum. Even though both come from the sugar cane, the second is based on the molasses. This may seem strange but in many countries Cachaça is known as “Brazilian Rum” which is seen as an outrageous mistake by the Brazilian people. So be sure to not screw up any meeting with such a blasphemy!