Originally Posted by smackdaddy
What's that stuff taste like? Looks dicey.
The stuff in the can tastes like white lightning, but a little sweet. That can is about 1/3 liter, which should be enough for a pretty good buzz at least. It cost me about $1 U.S. in Brazil
Cachaça is made from fermented sugar-cane juice, whereas rum is made from the molasses left over from sugar-refining. For the most part, cachaça is bottled straight from the still and is more like "silver" rum - clear, not aged at all, more of "cane-based neutral spirits" than anything. It can also be aged, or "envelhecida" - Brazilian law says it must be aged for at least one year, in barrels no larger than 700 liters, to earn that title - and sometimes it's colored with caramel.
Pirassinunga 51 is one of the big brands, and what they sell in Brazil often has sugar added ("adoçada", as you can read on the can). That's the cheap stuff, good for a caipirinha but certainly not a sippin' liquor. I think they export a better-quality to the USA; the importer certainly charges a premium price for it, even compared with better rums here. The best I've seen available in the USA is Ypioca Ouro, which is aged cachaça - I've had better cachaça in Brazil, though.
The drink for cachaça is the "caipirinha", which is made of fresh limes, sugar, and cachaça over ice. It's easy and powerful: Cut half a fresh lime into quarters, put them in the bottom of an on-the-rocks glass. Add a heaping teaspoonful of sugar, and muddle the sugar and lime together in the glass. (If you don't have a muddler, the bottom of a Tabasco bottle will do fine.) Fill the glass with ice, then fill the glass with cachaça. Sip through a short straw, which you can also do to mix up the sugar into the drink.
(I was amused to find that the word "caipirinha" is a diminutive of "caipira," which is São Paulo slang for what we might call a "hillbilly" or "country bumpkin". The best translation for "caipirinha" might be "country girl"!)
Here's to Excess -