It's kind of strange.
Cachaça is one of the spirits that we drink the most in this country. As the basis of a caipirinha, it goes over the counters of Germany in hectoliters.
But hardly anyone seems to care what quality or brand they drink. Cachaça doesn't seem to affect us.
And yet we put hundreds of notes on the table for it.
However, if you push cane sugar and lime aside once, so you only concentrate on the distillate, you can discover a pearl.
Because small, hardly known brands deliver cachaça in brilliant quality in this country.
At a good price-performance ratio.
You just need to know what they are and how to taste them.
In this article, I will show you 3 points:
- What is the difference between rum and cachaça?
- How to drink cachaça
- Which products are good?
Ok, let's get started.
This awaits you in this article
What you need to know first about Cachaça
When I drank a caipirinha for the first time, I was 16. At the time, I wasn't interested in what this cocktail was made of.
I saw limes, the sugar gritted between my teeth and any liquid in it made more than 2 of these drinks impossible.
That was my knowledge of a caipirinha at the time; consequently also via Cachaça.
At the beginning of my studies, I learned more about the spirit. There was something about a red freshwater crayfish. Pitú or something like that.
However, this did not improve my knowledge.
Because Pitú has as much to do with high-quality cachaça as nickel with pumpernickel.
Is Cachaça the same as Pitú? Cachaça is a Brazilian sugar canedistillate, Pitú, however, a Brazilian cachaçabrand, It became popular in Germany in the 1980s as the basis for Caipirinha's popularity. Pitú is an industrially manufactured cachaça and market leader in Germany.
Pitú is the market leader in Germany in the “Cachaça” area, but not a drop for pure enjoyment.
On the contrary.
As an industrially produced cachaça, it is not as good as the competition from copper stills.
In addition, a Statista survey from 2019 shows that Cachaça's exports are steadily declining.
Find more statistics at Statista
If you now consider that Germany is the main customer of Cachaça outside of Brazil, then it becomes clear:
We are referring to the numbers.
More and more consumers in this country drink less, but higher quality.
In the following, I would like to show you that you can also find high-quality distillates away from the mainstream at Cachaça.
Distillates, good value for money and interesting flavors.
What distinguishes cachaça from rum?
If you hide details and legal requirements, it becomes clear: Cachaça is a subcategory of rum.
Both distillates are based on sugar cane.
Rum, on the other hand, can access the entire range of processing options, but its Brazilian colleague, however, cannot.
While rum can be made from molasses, fresh sugar cane juice and sugar cane syrup, Cachaça must be based on fresh sugar cane juice.
When I made this statement at a rum seminar, the following question promptly came up:
"And what about Rhum agricole? Is this the same thing as cachaça, because this type of rum can only be made from fresh sugar cane juice? ”
This question was well combined and justified, but it was easy to answer:
"No. Rhum agricole is something else. "
Unlike other sugar cane distillates, Cachaça can only be produced in Brazil.
If you want to sell it in this country, then you only have to import it from South America. You are not allowed to make it yourself.
Similar regulations also apply to Rhum agricole. This rum variety is based on fresh sugar cane juice and may only be produced in France or its overseas departments.
From this point of view alone, Cachaça can be clearly classified as a rum variety.
However, the Brazilian national spirit is subject to further requirements than just geographical.
Because in this case it would simply be Brazilian rum.
Cachaça artesanal or industrial? The first variant is the traditional one, in which the distillation takes place in copper stills. The industrially manufactured version, however, is based on distillation in steel columns.
However, there are still a handful of properties that differentiate Cachaça from other rum varieties.
With some considerable influence on its bouquet.
# 1: sugarcane juice vs molasses
While Cachaça is made exclusively from sugar cane juice or syrup, rum production from fresh sugar cane only plays a role in certain geographical areas.
Only French-managed islands such as Martinique, Guadeloupe, Marie Galante and Reunion Island produce rum from fresh sugar cane juice.
The majority of rum producers make their distillate from molasses, a “remnant” of sugar production.
# 2: fermentation accelerator
Another point that is not allowed in rum production is the addition of fermentation accelerators.
At least in most regions.
To initiate fermentation, however, some cachaça producers of the mash add a mixture of the fresh juice of the sugar cane, corn starch, flour and bran.
Rum distilleries, such as the Jamaican Hampden Distillery, also add additives to the mash. However, this is primarily to control the aroma of the rum.
# 3: alcohol content
The next difference between cachaça and rum occurs in distillation.
The former may only be in the range between 38 and 48% vol. to be filled, for rum, however, this may be significantly higher.
Such a narrow margin in the alcohol sector reduces the creativity of one or the other master distiller. Nevertheless, it ensures a characteristic property, a recognition value for Cachaça.
In many regions, the alcohol content at which rum manufacturers fill their distillate is up to them.
The fact is, however, that you can only export your product to Europe if it is at least 37.5% vol. has.
Improve your next rum tasting:
Download our 4 rum posters for free to accompany you to your next glass.
# 4: 30 grams of sugar per liter
Once distilled, cachaça may be added up to 30 grams of sugar per liter for taste reasons.
For rum, this is legally prohibited for some distilleries, e.g. in Jamaica or Martinique.
With its 30 grams, Cachaça already has an extremely high tolerance limit.
Because compare this to liqueur. By regulation, this must contain at least 100 grams of sugar per liter.
So if a Cachaça distillery sugar up to the maximum value, then you will definitely recognize this during the tasting.
However, the addition of sugar is not a boxing match between cachaça and rum. The "sweet" in one corner, the "dry" in the other.
There are numerous rum distilleries that add large amounts of sugar to their distillate.
In comparison to Cachaça, there is only no international regulation on how much sugar rum can contain.
However, if you are looking for the “sugared” imprint on your next Cachaça purchase, you will not find it.
The reason for this lies in the EU spirits regulation.
In contrast to rum, cachaça does not have its own category, but is generally classified only as a “Brazilian spirit” or “simple spirit”.
Precise regulation of the sugar content is therefore not possible. As a result, there is no obligation to declare.
# 5: Cachaça is from Brazil – exclusively
You can make rum on every patch of earth. Cachaça, however, is not.
The last legal difference between the two distillates is in the country of production. Cachaça artesanal and industrial are considered to be Brazil's spirits and can therefore only be produced there.
How to drink cachaça
Cachaça is not a distillate that has been aged in oak barrels for many years.
There may be individual brands that also offer such old drops. This is not the rule.
However, this is no longer tragic.
Because similar to Rhum agricole or Clairin, the Brazilian spirit has a complex bouquet that hardly needs maturation.
In addition to the colorless variants, you will usually find cachaça variants with a subtle gold tone.
These varieties spent a few months to a few years in oak barrels.
However, mostly "prolonged" oxidative ripening took place here. The handful of flavors that the barrel still contributes are the icing on the cake.
You should therefore not drink high-quality variants too warm.
Make sure that the Drinking temperature at around 19 ° C lies. If it was clearly above that, I have had the experience, Cachaça gets an oily texture.
If you want to discover every aroma that gives the bouquet, you should also one Nosing glass use.
However, numerous other glass shapes are also suitable for enjoying cachaça.
Because like Mezcal, Cachaça is not a distillate that was designed for professional flavor analysis.
At least not to such an extent as we do with single malt scotch, straight bourbon or cognac.
Cachaça you should try
In the past years I was lucky enough to try distillates from different brands.
But even if the import of this spirit is enormous in this country, the largest volume relates to bulk goods like Pitú.
It is therefore necessary to do some research to find high-quality cachaça in German retail.
However, to shorten your search, I would like to show you 3 products that have thrilled me in recent years.
Tip: If you are looking for cachaça for the preparation of a caipirinha, you should not resort to barrel-stored variants.
Magnífica Safra Do Ano
Order the Magnífica Safra Do Ano from Amazon and try it yourself
Espirito De Minas
Order the Espirito De Minas from Amazon now and try it yourself
Order the Magnífica Envelhecida from Amazon now and try it yourself
Image source: Title image: RHJPhtotoandilust / Shutterstock, Distillery: Ksenia Ragozina / Shutterstock