About South American Spirits

The South American spirits category includes cachaça, pisco, aguardiente and other spirits indigenous to South America.

Pisco is a grape based spirit originating in the grape growing regions of Peru, and Chile. Essentially pisco is a pomace brandy and is distilled from the leftover pomace, or solid remains, leftover after grapes are pressed during the winemaking process. The term "pisco" is recognized as an appellation throughout the world and is reserved for these grape based spirits of Peru and Chile.

Cachaça is a sugar cane based spirit originating in Brazil. Similar to Pisco, the term cachaça is recognized as an appellation reserved for these Brazilian spirits. Although similar in style to rum, these spirits are not to be confused. Cachaça is distilled only from fresh sugar cane juice, like agricole rhum, not molasses like most rums on the market,; it is commonly produced as either unaged or wood-aged.

Top Picks for South American Spirits

Sagatiba Preciosa Cachaça
98 points
$300
Medium amber color. Complex, spicy aromas and flavors of cherry pipe tobacco and white ash, honeyed fruit cake and fig bread, cedar cigar box, and spiced bananas and mango with a satiny, vibrant, fruity medium-to-full body and a warming, complex, very long roasted nuts and banana leaves, vanilla cola, sassafras and mint, exotic tropical fruit chutney, and leather and polished wood finish. A superb sipping cachaça that will be fantastic with cigars.
Awards: 2017 Top 3 Best Spirits, 2017 Best Cachaça
Sagatiba Envelhecida Cachaça
95 points
Medium golden yellow color. Tropical aromas and flavors of caramelized bananas, toasted meringue, chestnut nougat, and nut oil with a satiny, bright, dry-yet-fruity medium body and a tingling, complex, long cane stalk and tobacco leaves, delicate spices, pepper, and minerals finish. An elegant and vibrant aged cachaça with great flavor, finesse, and versatility.
Capucana Handcrafted Cachaça
93 points
$36
Bright golden straw color. Lively, earthy, creamy aromas of creamy nougat, creme brulee, cedar incense, and aloe with a satiny, crisp, dry-yet-fruity light-to-medium body and a warming, captivating, medium-long grass, sugar cane, peppercorns, and plantain custard finish. A delicate, nuanced aged cachaça.
Waqar Pisco
93 points
$36
Clear color. Bright, floral aromas and flavors of honeyed apricots, honeysuckle, orange marmalade, and mineral oil with a vibrant, fruity sweet medium body and a warming, interesting, medium-long finish displaying accents of earth and pepper. A lovely, well balanced with good intensity that will pop in cocktails.
Batista Prata
90 points
$34.99
Clear color. Grassy, creamy aromas and flavors of sugar cane stalk and leaves, plantain, flan, and minerals with a silky, bright, dry-yet-fruity light-to-medium body and a tingling, interesting, medium-long gravel, wheatgrass, and pepper and vanilla finish. A solid, well made cachaça that will mix nicely.
90 points $34.99
Santiago Queirolo Pisco Quebranta
89 points
$20
Best Buy
Clear color. Interesting aromas and flavors of frosted raisin bran, sour cream and onion potato chip, and French bread with a supple, bright, fruity light-to-medium body and a peppery, intriguing, medium-length finish revealing notes of flower water, white chocolate orange, pepper, and minerals. A warming pisco for punches.
89 points $20 Best Buy
Soul Premium Cachaça
89 points
$24.99
Clear color. Interesting, mild aromas and flavors of pistachio nougat, barnyard hay, and roasted agave with a soft, bright, dry-yet-fruity light body and a warming, delightful, cheery finish with impressions of powdered sugar, coconut water, limestone, and clay pot. A solid, earthy cachaça for cream or hot cocktails.
89 points $24.99
Batista Ouro
88 points
$39.99
Light gold color. Smoky aromas and flavors of tar, lit tobacco, and burnt sugar with a supple, soft, dryish medium body and a warming, intriguing, medium-length fuel, wet stones, and caramelized tropical fruits finish. A smoky, dusty cachaça for cigars and whisky cocktails.
88 points $39.99
Pisco Capel Alto del Carmen
88 points
$18.99
Best Buy
Gold color. Mild aromas and flavors of honey cake, suede, papaya custard, and pepper dust with a soft, bright, fruity medium body and a warming, interesting, medium-length finish conveying overtones of praline, minerals, and white pepper with light oak. A nice, warming pisco.
88 points $18.99 Best Buy
Santiago Queirolo Pisco Acholado
88 points
$20
Best Buy
Clear color. Lively aromas and flavors of apricot pastry, buttercream, cucumber salad, and celery salt on potato with a supple, bright, fruity sweet light-to-medium body and a tingling, stimulating, breezy finish evoking touches of nougat, fig, and lemon pepper. A pleasant, easy drinking pisco that will be good in cocktails.
88 points $20 Best Buy