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 and Reviews for South American Spirits

Preciosa Cachaça
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.
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
Envelhecida Cachaça
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.
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
Velha Cachaça
Pale golden silver color. Robust aromas of caramel soufflé, dried fruity, praline and leather with a silky, dry-yet-fruity medium-to-full body and a tangy citrus custard, grass, mineral and pepper finish. Excellent complexity and vibrancy that will mix brilliantly in cocktails.
94 points $26.99
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
Handcrafted Cachaça
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.
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
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.
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
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
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
Pura Cachaça
Clear. Bold earthy aromas of wet straw, bamboo, geranium talc, and beeswax candle with faint fuel like minerality. Silky with a dry-yet-fruity medium body and a vanilla cream, banana leaf, and wet stone finish. A great combination of earthiness and elegance that will create distinctive cocktails.
90 points $24.99
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
Santiago Queirolo
Pisco Quebranta
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
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
Premium Cachaça
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
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
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
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab