National Cachaça Day in Brazil Date in the current year: September 13, 2018

National Cachaça Day in Brazil On September 13, Brazilians celebrate National Cachaça Day (Dia Nacional da Cachaça). It is dedicated to a distilled spirit that is considered the national beverage of Brazil, just like champagne in France or pisco in Peru.

Cachaça, also known as Brazilian rum, is a distilled spirit made from fermented sugarcane juice. It is cachaça and not rum that is considered the first distilled cane spirit in the Americas. The first mention of cachaça dates back to 1529 (the beginning of Portuguese colonization in South America), whereas the first distillation of rum took place on the Caribbean sugarcane plantations in the 17th century.

There was a period in the history of colonial Brazil when the Portuguese authorities banned the production, sale and consumption of cachaça in order to sell to the colonists another alcoholic beverage called bagaceira (a type of pomace brandy similar to the Bulgarian rakia, Georgian chacha and Italian grappa). However, the colonists continued to produce and sale cachaça clandestinely, and runaway slaves even used it to exchange for food, clothes and other goods.

In 1660, a group of cachaça producers in Rio de Janeiro instigated a revolt that is now known as the Cachaça Revolt. As a result, the king of Portugal issued an order legalizing cachaça on September 13, 1661. Today cachaça is one of the national symbols of Brazil, as well as one of the world’s most consumed distilled spirits. Brazilians even celebrate National Cachaça Day to commemorate the legalization of cachaça.

There are two main varieties of cachaça: aged (dark, yellow or gold) and unaged (white or silver). Dark cachaça is aged for up to 12 months in wooden barrels. It is more expensive and is meant to be drunk straight. White cachaça is bottled immediately after distillation. It is used in mixed drinks, particularly caipirinha (Brazil’s national cocktail made with cachaça, sugar cane, lime and ice).

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Other Observances

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Brazil

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National Cachaça Day in Brazil, holidays in Brazil, Brazilian observances, cachaça, caipirinha