Rum is made from sugarcane molasses: a by-product, created in the process of refining sugar. On the other hand, cachaça is produced from fresh-pressed sugarcane juice. Botanists believed that the sugarcane was cultivated in New Guinea as early as 6000 BC, with it appearing in a five-volume medicine book named De Materia Medica. It was described as a sweet grass that had only been known in Europe since about 325 BC when Alexander the Great brought it from India.
Sugarcane juice was distilled on the Islands of Madeira, under the name
The humble beginnings of the caipirinha cocktail, begins in 1918, in the region of Alentejo of Portugal, at the end of World War I. A popular antidote of lemon, honey, and garlic was prescribed for patients with Spanish flu, known even today as a cure for the average cold. It was common practice to add a distilled spirit to the liquid remedy, in the hope of expediting the therapeutic effect. And many a time,
“From its creation in São Paulo, caipirinha began to spread throughout Brazil and was supplied at civilised, high-end events after slavery was banned and the monarchy ousted.”
The word caipirinha is the diminutive of the word caipira. In Brazilian-Portuguese, caipira refers to someone from the countryside (specifically, someone from the rural parts of south-central Brazil, peasants of the in-land), of equal meaning to the American hillbilly or redneck. The word “caipirinha” literally means “small caipira” or “little peasant”. Whoever named the freshest invention at the time was linking it back to its Piracicaba roots.
In summer, the variety of fruit increases and makes possible unusual combinations. At Bar Veloso, for example, the options vary from traditional, with lemon, to jabuticaba, pomegranate and mandarin with pepper. For six years in the bar, the barman Deusdete Souza has a 20-year history in the preparation of the drink. “On a Saturday, I make 600 caipirinhas.”
Originally, cachaça is not aged. Nowadays handcrafted, wood-aged artesian cachaças are available in Brazil and abroad, in shades ranging from gold to amber. Their age is from 2 – 16 years, with earthy, spiced and oak flavours similar to a fine tequila and deserves to be sipped.
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