CACHAÇA - HISTORICAL FACTS
The Arab merchants brought the sugarcane from China / India by the Silk Road to Palestine, to the Mediterranean cities and Venice. This city became the largest sugar distributor for the European Nobility in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries.
The sugar cane was smuggled to Sicilia Islands in Italy, to the Portuguese Island Madeira and Azores and to Canary Spain Islands.
With the coming of Columbus to America (1492 - 1516) sugar cane was planted initially on the island Hispaniola (Santo Domingo) where it did not avenge and later planted in the other Caribbean islands.
The distillation of the remains of sugar-making, molasses, happened for economic reasons, sugar had high value and its production was controlled, but not the production of molasses that was not controlled by Lisbon, which taxed all the production of riches of the Colony Brazilian including sugar.
The molasses began to be fermented and distilled, doing sugar cane brandy, today cachaça, and its smuggling market was on the great sailboats of the Atlantic and towards the Pacific
Sugar cane brandy became an antiseptic, a remedy, contributed to the consumption of lemon to avoid scurvy (tooth decay) and the English Admiral Edward Vernon, dubbed Old Grog, invented to dilute cane brandy with hot water, sugar and spices, hence the name of the drink that until today is served in the balcony of Armazem Vieira.
Cane brandy produced in Brazil-Colony was known as earth spirit; the brandy made in Portugal, as brandy of the Kingdom and was made from grape marc, today known as bagaceira.
The Dutch, who here planted sugar cane and competed with the Portuguese, were expelled from Brazil in 1640 and started planting sugar cane in the Caribbean.
The Dutch passed the cane spirit technology to the French in Haiti, English in Jamaica, and Spanish in Cuba, where our cachaça came to be called rum by the English, aguardiente de caña by the Spaniards, rhum by the French and rum by the Cubans.
Today, in Brazil, cachaça (cane spirit) is made directly from the sugar cane juice resulting in a higher quality product. There are two processes, industrial in large columns and handmade, in stills; in the latter, greater control is achieved in distillation and may result in a high quality product.
The sugarcane plant had a great genetic evolution, to optimize the production of sugar and cachaça and there is no longer the sugar cane that came from the Island of Madeira in 1532