Cachaça vs Rum: What’s the Difference?

Are you curious about the differences between cachaça and rum? While both are sugarcane-based spirits, they have distinct characteristics that set them apart. Cachaça is a Brazilian spirit made from fermented sugarcane juice, while rum is made from molasses or sugarcane juice and is produced in various countries throughout the world.

One of the main differences between cachaça and rum is the way they are aged. Cachaça is typically aged in wooden barrels made from Brazilian hardwoods, which imparts a unique flavor profile to the spirit. Rum, on the other hand, can be aged in a variety of barrels, including oak, which can give it a more complex flavor. Additionally, cachaça is usually bottled at a lower proof than rum, which can make it a more approachable spirit for those new to sugarcane-based spirits.

Facts About Cachaça

History of Cachaça

Cachaça has a long history in Brazil, dating back to the 16th century. It was first produced by Portuguese colonizers who brought sugarcane to Brazil. The spirit was originally called aguardente de cana, which means “burning water” in Portuguese. It was later renamed cachaça, which is derived from the Tupi-Guarani word for “juice.”

Cachaça quickly became popular among the working class in Brazil, and it was often used as a form of currency. Today, cachaça is a beloved national drink in Brazil and is enjoyed by people all over the world.

How is Cachaça Made?

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Cachaça is made from fermented sugarcane juice, which is then distilled. The process is similar to that of rum, but with some key differences. For example, cachaça is typically distilled to a lower proof than rum, which gives it a more full-bodied flavor. Additionally, cachaça is often aged in wooden barrels, which can impart unique flavors and aromas.

Types of Cachaça

There are two main types of cachaça: artisanal and industrial. Artisanal cachaça is produced using traditional methods, such as pot stills and wooden barrels. Industrial cachaça, on the other hand, is produced using modern equipment and techniques.

Within these two categories, there are also several sub-types of cachaça. For example, some cachaças are aged for longer periods of time, which can give them a smoother, more complex flavor. Others are flavored with fruits or spices to create unique taste profiles.

Price Range of Cachaça

The price of cachaça can vary widely depending on the brand, type, and age. Artisanal cachaças are typically more expensive than industrial cachaças, and aged cachaças are generally more expensive than unaged ones. However, even high-end cachaças are generally more affordable than other premium spirits like whiskey or cognac.

Notable Brands of Cachaça

There are numerous exceptional brands of cachaça available in the market today, each with its own distinct qualities. Some of the most well-known and widely enjoyed brands include Leblon, Avuá, Novo Fogo, Yaguara, and Sagatiba. Each brand offers a unique flavor profile and employs its own production methods, resulting in a diverse range of cachaças to explore.

Facts About Rum

History of Rum

Mai Tai - Rum
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Rum has its roots in the Caribbean, where it was first distilled in the 17th century. It was originally made from molasses, a byproduct of sugar production, and was a way for sugar plantations to make use of their excess molasses. The first rum distillery was established in Barbados in the 1650s, and from there, the drink spread throughout the Caribbean and eventually around the world.

How is Rum Made?

Rum is made from sugarcane juice or molasses that has been fermented and then distilled. The fermentation process converts the sugar in the juice or molasses into alcohol, which is then distilled to increase its alcohol content. The resulting liquid is then aged in barrels, which can give the rum its distinctive flavor and color.

Types of Rum

There are several different types of rum, including white rum, gold rum, dark rum, spiced rum, and flavored rum. White rum is clear and has a light flavor, while gold rum is aged for longer and has a richer flavor and color. Dark rum is aged even longer and has a more complex flavor, with notes of molasses and caramel. Spiced rum is infused with spices like cinnamon and nutmeg, while flavored rum is infused with fruit or other flavors.

Price Range of Rum

The price of rum can vary widely depending on the type and quality of the rum. White rum is generally the least expensive, with prices ranging from $10 to $20 per bottle, while dark and aged rums can cost anywhere from $20 to $100 or more per bottle.

Notable Brands of Rum

There are many well-known brands of rum, including Bacardi, Captain Morgan, and Mount Gay. Bacardi is one of the largest and most popular rum brands in the world, while Captain Morgan is known for its spiced rum. Mount Gay is one of the oldest rum brands in the world, dating back to the 1700s.

Cachaça Vs Rum

While they may seem similar, there are some key differences between the two spirits that are worth exploring.

Differences in Flavor

Cachaça is a type of Brazilian spirit made from fermented sugarcane juice. It has a unique, earthy flavor that’s often described as grassy or vegetal. This is because cachaça is made using fresh sugarcane juice, which gives it a distinct flavor that can vary depending on the type of sugarcane used and the region it’s produced in.

Rum, on the other hand, is made from molasses, a byproduct of sugarcane production. This gives it a sweeter, more caramelized flavor than cachaça. Rum can also be aged in oak barrels, which can impart additional flavors like vanilla and spice.

Differences in Serving and Pairing

Cachaça is often used in cocktails like the Caipirinha, a popular Brazilian drink made with lime, sugar, and cachaça. It can also be enjoyed neat or on the rocks. When pairing cachaça with food, it’s important to consider its earthy flavor. Cachaça pairs well with spicy or savory dishes, as well as tropical fruits like mango and pineapple.

Rum is a versatile spirit that can be used in a wide range of cocktails, from classic daiquiris to tiki drinks like the Mai Tai. Like cachaça, it can also be enjoyed neat or on the rocks. When pairing rum with food, consider its sweeter, caramelized flavor. Rum pairs well with desserts like chocolate or caramel, as well as savory dishes like jerk chicken or barbecue.


Now that you have learned about the differences between cachaça and rum, you can confidently choose the right spirit for your next cocktail.

Remember, cachaça is made exclusively in Brazil and is distilled from fresh sugarcane juice. It has a distinct grassy flavor and is often used in traditional Brazilian cocktails like the Caipirinha. On the other hand, rum can be made from a variety of sugarcane byproducts, including molasses, and is produced in many countries around the world.

When it comes to mixing cocktails, both spirits can be used interchangeably in many recipes. However, if you want to stay true to the traditional flavors of a Caipirinha or other Brazilian cocktails, cachaça is the way to go.

Experiment with both spirits to discover your favorite flavor combinations and enjoy the diverse world of sugarcane spirits.

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