Generally, when I think of Brazil, I think of statuesque Brazilian beauties in bikinis on the beaches of Rio de Janeiro beneath that really tall statue of Jesus atop a mountain sadly looking down at all those half naked people partying. Well, that’s certainly not what the people of Brazil think about because they are very, very busy downing over 240 million liters of Cachaça every year, making it the second largest selling spirit in the world. I’ll just bet you don’t know what the number one world’s best selling spirit is! It’s a South Korean rice and barley spirit called Jinro soju. Now, that we’ve hop scotched around the spirit world let’s get back to that Cachaça 51.

Cachaça 51 label

Although both rum and Cachaça are made from sugarcane-derived products, specifically in Cachaça, the alcohol results from the fermentation of fresh sugarcane juice that is afterwards distilled, while rum is usually made from by-products from refineries, such as molasses. And just what is it that all those Brazilians are doing with their Cachaça? Well, they’re either drinking it straight or mixing it into a Caipirinha, which is very simple to make by just using a bit of lime and sugar and ice and, of course, the Cachaça. OK, so break out the limes, and let’s give this a go.

Cachaça 51 comes in a tall clear bottle with a very large 51 right in the middle of the label with yellow and red stripping just behind it. The liquid is completely clear and looks like water. The nose is a sweet earthy, grassy combination dotted with citrusy notes. There are no ethanol aromas to speak of. On the palate, the sugar sweetness comes forward followed by licorice, citrus, and a hint of spearmint with an earthiness lurking in the background. The finish is sweet, licorice like, and smooth and lasts a medium amount of time. I do believe if you like rum, you’ll like Cachaca 51. I must admit that the thought of putting sugar in this already sweet spirit was contradictory to my nature, but I went ahead and followed a recipe for making Caipirinha and was surprised to discover that the tartness of the lime completely complimented the sugar and the natural sweetness of the spirit. This is one mighty tasty and refreshing drink. I can understand why everyone in Brazil drinks it.

A 700 ML bottle will run you about $26.49 and it is 40% ABV. (Check out some lovely cocktails you can make with it.)


By George Brozowski