However, it is distilled to a much lower strength (around 75%) and therefore retains various flavour characteristics of the cane from which it was produced.
Legally, cachaça must have an alcoholic strength of between 38-51%, and up to six grams of sugar may be added per litre. There are more than 4,000 brands of cachaça in Brazil, with production currently standing at more than a billion litres of the spirit each year. Astonishingly, this makes cachaça the third-most-popular spirit in the world. Perhaps even more astonishingly (or less so, depending on your opinion), around 98% of this massive volume is consumed by the Brazilians themselves.
Of the stock exported, the vast majority is used as an ingredient in the famous Caipirinha ('country girl') cocktail along with crushed lime and sugar. In Brazil, the better brands of handmade cachaça are reverently sipped from small shot glasses and allowed to linger on the tongue so that the taster can fully savour the subtle flavours of the spirit.
Typical Character and Style of Cachaca