“Cachaça”: a dose of Brazilianness

A road map for lovers of the most Brazilian drink of all.

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The official name is cachaça, but you can arrive at any Brazilian bar and ask for a "branquinha," a "aguardente," a "danada," a "mardita," a "pinga," or even a "mé,” that the drink served will be the same, the one that everyone knows, made from fermented sugarcane juice.

The origin of this true national preference dates back to the slavery age at the beginning of the Brazilian colonization in the 16th century. The slaves are said to have extracted the broth from the sugarcane and let it to cool down, in order to obtain the “rapadura”. However, sometimes it happened that the broth drew back and fermented. The resulting product was not meant to sweeten, and was then given to these slaves and also to animals. Over the time, the drink began to be filtered and distilled. And then the “cachaça” was born.

There are “pingas” for all tastes and audiences: from the cheap ones to the large-scale, low-quality, expensive and made in small quantities, very refined and often handcrafted ones. Production is strong in the Northeast and Southeast, but occurs in all regions of the country. And a part is sold outward bound. Countries like France, Germany and Portugal are appreciators of this genuine Brazilian drink, both in pure form and in a good “caipirinha”.

However, if talking about the “branquinha” is good, the best is to taste it. To help with this mission, we have prepared some tips from cities and producing regions.

Minas Gerais is generally the first state that comes to mind when it comes to “cachaça”. The cities of Salinas, Betim, Ouro Preto and Tiradentes are known for the quality and diversity of labels.

If you are in Rio de Janeiro, you cannot miss Paraty and Barra Mansa. In São Paulo, it is worth to pass in Guararema, Santo Antônio do Pinhal, Bragança Paulista, Pirassununga and Brotas.

In the Northeast, the cities of Tracunhaém and Recife, both in Pernambuco, are traditional strongholds for lovers of “aguardente,” as well as Fortaleza, in Ceará.

Finally, the South region also manufactures the drink with excellent quality. Just look what is done in the municipalities of Canela and Capão da Canoa, in Rio Grande do Sul, and Morretes, in Paraná.

It is worth remembering that there are many other places that make great “cachaças,” but it would be impossible to speak of them all. And it is also worth remembering the maxim of true appreciators: if you drink, do not drive!