Most people think of cachaça as "Brazilian rum," and while it does herald from the largest South American country, it is not, in fact, rum. Cachacha is pronounced "kah-SHAH-sah".
Photographer: Marcelo Braga
Creative Commons 2.0
(CNN) -- Bossa nova to the bar! June 12 is International Cachaça Day.
Most people think of cachaça as "Brazilian rum," and while it does herald from the largest South American country, it is not, in fact, rum.
Cachaça is alcohol that's distilled from raw sugar cane juice, whereas rum is distilled from sugar cane by-products like molasses. In that sense, even though the U.S. Tax and Trade Bureau recently recognized cachaça as a type of rum, it's a distinctive spirit of its own.
Brazil is known for its cachaça, in part, because the country is the largest producer and exporter of sugar cane. It should come as no surprise then that cachaça is in Brazil's national cocktail, the caipirinha.
Brazil is so enamored with cachaça that for a product to be called such, it can only come from Brazil (the same way Champagne with a capital "C" has to come from the Champagne region of France).
If you feel like celebrating International Cachaça Day with a caipirinha, they're easy to make. Muddle lime and sugar together, then add the cachaça and ice. You could always try a more exotic version like a strawberry-basil caipirihna, or a pineapple-mint one.
Oh, and in case you're wondering how to pronounce it, it's kah-SHAH-sah.
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