What is Cachaca?
This spirit, made only in certain regions within Brazil, is distilled from fresh sugar cane juice. The single distillation process helps the drink to keep some of the sweet flavoring of the original sugar cane, plus the flavors and aromas of any additives used to enhance the drink.
Cachaca comes in four basic types: branca, amarela, premium, and extra premium. Branca and amarela are both aged for a short time with the only real difference being the type of barrel they are aged in, with branca being aged in non-enhancing barrels such as stainless steel barrels and amarela being aged gently in a wooden barrel containing and older spirit. Premium is aged for at least one year in a dark wooden barrel and extra premium is aged for 3 or more years in a dark wooden barrel.
When it comes to purchasing Cachaca, you have two main choices: artisanal or industrial. Artisanal brands are made in small, local breweries using a variety of different flavor additives and aromatic ingredients found in the area. Industrial brands mass produce similar drinks to sell around the country and export abroad.
BEST BRANDS OF CACHACA
As an artisanal Cachaca, it is somewhat of a surprise that Beija is actually available internationally and not used exclusively in Brazil. Although it runs a bit of a higher price tag than some of the more common brands, the smooth flavors, consistency, and ease of drinkability make it a great choice for anyone looking to get a nice sipping or mixing drink.
Milagre de Minas
This may be a difficult brand to find unless you are actually in Brazil, but it’s worth searching for it if you get the chance to drink it. There is a mix of complex flavors that come from over thirty local Brazilian herbs native to the area in which it is brewed. This mix makes for a wonderful and unique flavor which is hard to replicate with any other brands. It can make a great Caipirinha, but is also a nice drink to take neat if you want to sit back, relax, and enjoy your evening.
While this is a stronger and slightly harsh drink to take straight, it is recommended by many for mixed drinks and Caipirinhas. You can get it as aramela or branca, both of which are frequently used in Brazil for the signature cocktail. This is not by any means one of the highest quality brands available, but it lands a spot on this list because it is a very popular brand that is widely used locally in Brazil and can be found all around the world with relative ease.
As a brand of mainly aged Cachaca, you will find a lot of complex flavors in these bottles and are more likely to find amarela, premium, or extra premium varieties from this brand than branca. The flavors incorporated by this brand are taken from many different additives as well as derived from the barrel in which the drink was aged.
You may be able to enjoy this well as a sipping drink and not just a mixing drink. It is a commonly available brand in the US and Brazil, and it is usually considered to be one of the higher quality industrial brands. Germana is made to be smooth and neat with a lot of nice fruit flavors. Being aged in oak, it will pick up some of the flavors of the wood depending on the type of bottle you have purchased and how long it was aged.
Recommended by many Brazilian natives and long-term visitors, this brand makes a variety of types of Cachacas, all of which are high quality and very delicious. Drinks from this brand are moderately priced, so you won’t have to spend too much to get your enjoyment from the brand.
FINDING THE BEST CACHACA
Whether you are using the drink to mix into a Caipirinha or to drink neat, you should look for a specific brand that will fit your needs the best. Some brands are great for mixing, but absolutely unpleasant for drinking straight while others boast the opposite qualifications. It can be good to try different brands to see what y