The Caipirinha is Brazil’s national cocktail made with cachaça, ice, sugar, and lime. It is the drink most commonly associated with cachaça.
The major difference between cachaça and rum is that rum is usually made from molasses, a by-product from refineries that boil the cane juice to extract as much sugar crystal as possible, while cachaça is made from fresh sugarcane juice that is fermented and distilled. As some rums are also made by this process, cachaça is also known as Brazilian rum. The distillation process dates back to 1532, when one of the Portuguese colonisers brought the first cuttings of sugar cane over to Brazil from Madeira
Cachaça, like rum, has two varieties: unaged (white) and aged (gold). White cachaça is usually bottled immediately after distillation and tends to be cheaper (some producers age it for up to 12 months in wooden barrels to achieve a smoother blend). Dark cachaça, usually seen as the “premium” variety, is aged in wood barrels and is meant to be drunk straight (it is usually aged for up to 3 years though some “ultra premium” cachaças have been aged for up to 15 years). Its flavour is influenced by the type of wood the barrel is made from.