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.
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
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
CanaRío Cachaca
87 points
$21.99
clear color. Delicate, cheesy, citrusy savory vegetal aromas of vanilla yogurt nuts and raisins, dried cherries, cane stalk, and menthol mint with a satiny, lively, fruity medium body and a tingling, interesting, medium-length sweet cream, rock candy, grass, and bamboo finish. A solid choice for caipirinhas and light rum cocktails.
87 points $21.99
Santiago Queirolo Pisco Quebranta
86 points
$24.99
Clear color. Delicate, interesting, savory aromas of pickled green tomatoes, golden raisins, champagne vinaigrette, and dried banana and edamame with a satiny, lively, fruity medium body and a peppery, intriguing, medium-length reduced orange, pickled melon rind and peppers, honey, and pepper finish. A fun, zesty, savory pisco with interesting salinity that will cover a lot of bases cocktail-wise.
86 points $24.99
Cachaça 51 Cachaca 80 Proof
83 points
$19.99
Clear color. Delicate, grassy, earthy oily aromas of cane, vanilla candle, plain yogurt, and roasted peppers with a supple, vibrant, off-dry medium body and a peppery, interesting, medium-long diesel, overripe papaya and coconut, banana leaf, and sugar cane syrup finish. A earthy base for caipirinhas.
83 points $19.99