A different story or is it? As we travel through Brazil, we have realized that there is more to Cachaça than the well known Caipirinha, which actually not only comes with refreshing limão (lime) but also with many other fruits, such as acerola, siriguela, maracuja (passion fruit) and even strawberries.
A friend of ours in Salvador organized a little Cachaça tasting and we got to taste surprisingly soft and round, liquor like versions of this typical Brazilian beverage. These are naturally enjoyed pure, without any additional sugar or fruit.
Just like Rum, Cachaça also comes both in clear (“prata”) and in dark (“ouro”), meaning silver and gold. The dark color, as in Rum, comes from the aging or resting process in barrels, may they be American or European Oak or made of local Brazilian wood, each giving their own character to the beverage.
Both Rum and Cachaça are made of sugar cane. So, what’s the difference?
Rum is (usually) made of the molasses which is a by-product of the production of sugar extracted from the sugar cane. The cane juice is in fact boiled to get as much sugar crystal as possible. In the early years of the 19th century, the sugar producers in the various colonies in the Americas installed this method. In the British colonies, the beverage then got the name “Rum”.
Cachaça is made of fresh sugarcane juice that is fermented and distilled.
What about the Rum produced on the islands of the Indian Ocean, such as Mauritius? The Brits who were ruling here in the early 18th century, banned the use of sugar cane juice to produce Rum, as sugar was a more profitable business. Rum was produced for the leftover molasses, as in the Caribbean. However, small agricultural distilleries produced Rum for the fermented juice of the sugar cane, the “Cachaça” way, so to say. The old British ban on the production method was lifted in 2006 and this has helped Mauritius to make its mark on the global market of Rum. Small distilleries produce fine and high quality beverage that is sometimes mixed or infused with spices such as vanilla and fruits including coconut and passion fruit.
So, there is not much difference between Cachaça and (Mauritian) Rum, only the way of enjoying them varies.
Of course, as always, enjoying alcoholic beverages should be moderate. Cheers!