Brazil is the largest and most populated country in South America. Most of the land is occupied by tropical Amazon rainforest (the most biologically diverse region on earth), but there are also large swaths of coniferous forests, arid deserts, and savanna grasslands. The country is also culturally rich, with major urban centers of Salvador, luxurious Rio de Janeiro, and São Paulo. It is in this city of São Paulo where one can find a museum dedicated to the official language: Portuguese.
In terms of spirits, Brazil is all about the sugar cane. The country's national spirit of Cachaça is made from the sugar cane juice, and is known for having a pleasant vegetal edge. The higher quality comes from fresh cut cane, as the sugars will begin to break down once reaped. In this sense, care and lower yields in the sugar cane fields will produce a source of greater sugar concentration and flavor in the final product, not unlike grape growing for wine.
Two Varieties of Cachaça:
- Un-aged (white): White cachaça is usually bottled immediately after distillation, and tends to be less expensive compared to gold cachaça. It is often used to prepare caipirinha - Brazil's national cocktail.
- Aged (gold): Dark cachaça, usually viewed as the "premium" variety, is aged in wood barrels that influence the final flavor of the spirit. This type of cachaça is meant to be drunk pure.