Cachaça is a uniquely Brazilian product. The first condition for a brandy to be called cachaça is to be produced in Brazil. So far so good, right? But there is still confusion in the definition of what is cachaça. According to the Brazilian law, Decree 6871/2009, Art. 53, cachaça is:
“the typical and unique designation for the sugarcane liquor produced in Brazil, with an alcohol content of 38-48 volume percent, at twenty degrees Celsius (°C), obtained by the distillation of the fermented juice of the sugarcane ( …) ”
Also, according to the law, up to 6g sugars can be added per liter, a value expressed as sucrose.
It’s worth mentioning that if these standarts are not met, the drink cannot be marketed as cachaça, but receives the designation of aguardente de cana (sugarcane brandy.) For example, a distillate of sugarcane with an alcohol content of 49 percent by volume is an “aguardente de cana-de-açúcar”.
The same is true for other spirits that are not distilled from sugarcane. For example, a distillate of cashew apple is a cashew “aguardente” and not a cashew “cachaça.” And when we add herbs and/or spices to the brandy, it cannot be marketed as cachaça, but as “aguardente composta” (mixed brandy).