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The Brazilian spirit you should be drinking during this Olympic games

Ever heard of cachaça?

With the Olympics in Rio in full swing, now’s the time to delve in to the Brazilian rum.

Cachaça (pronounced cah-sha-sa) is just an obscure spirit reserved only for the popular caipirinha, a staple Brazilian cocktail consisting of the sugarcane-based spirit, sugar, and lime. Instead, cachaça is a versatile liquor that can be substituted in many classic cocktails and bring earthy notes to innovative creations. Yet many libation lovers know little about it.

To get a glimpse of some of the best cachaças sold in the American market right now, head over to the top 10 list I compiled at Gayot.com, a lifestyle guide.

Yaguara Branca cachaça, which made it into my Gayot Top 10 list.

Yaguara Branca cachaça, which made it into my Gayot Top 10 list.

Made from fermented sugarcane juice, most cachaças are aged in woods native to Brazil. Silver cachaças such as Cuca Fresca are aged in English Oak. Aged cachaças usually spend two to twelve years in wood. Cachaças are bottled around 80 to 100 proof.

Novo Fogo Barrel Aged

Novo Fogo Barrel Aged cachaça, which made it into my Gayot Top 10 list and which is delicious when sipped neat.

Cachaças are similar in style to the rhum agricoles produced in the French West Indies. The sugarcane is fermented within 24 hours of harvesting and that is the difference between cachaça and other rums, which are mostly made from molasses. Cachaças have an earthier scent and taste of fresh vegetation with a hint of spice and are not overly sweet. Cachaça’s nuances really lie in the way the product is distilled, filtered, and/or aged, and the subtle flavors that result.

So pick up a bottle and make a caipirinha to cheer on Team USA!

Make a Caipirinha

Roughly translated from Portuguese, caipirinha means “farmer’s drink,” but it’s actually a quite sophisticated Brazilian drink, in which the natural sweetness of cachaça is countered by lime zest.

1 lime, cut into wedges

2 teaspoons sugar

2 ounces cachaça

Place lime wedges in a rocks glass with ice and sprinkle with sugar. Add cachaça.

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