A Brief Guide to Cachaca
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Cachaça is a liquor made from fermented sugarcane. It is the most popular distilled alcoholic beverage in Brazil. It is also known as aguardente (aguardiente), pinga, caninha or other names. Cachaça is mostly produced in Brazil, where, according to 2007 figures, 1.5 billion liters (390 million gallons) are consumed annually, compared with 15 million liters (4.0 million gallons) outside the country.
Cachaça differs from rum in that most rum is made from molasses. Use of molasses allows for the use of the byproduct of sugar production and a smaller still but has the taste affected by heating. Cachaca can be classified as a "rhum agricole" which is rum produced directly from cane juice.
Cachaça, like rum, has two varieties: unaged (white) and aged (gold). White cachaça is usually bottled immediately after distillation and tends to be cheaper. It is often used to prepare caipirinha and other beverages in which cachaça is an ingredient. Dark cachaça, usually seen as the "premium" variety, is aged in wood barrels and is meant to be drunk straight. Its flavor is influenced by the type of wood from which the barrel is made.
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