Brazil’s national drink is cachaça-a spirit made of sugarcane. Cachaça is produced in Brazil and it’s also known as aguardente, pinga or caninha. Famous producing regions include Minas Gerais, where tours are offered in the distilleries, Pirassununga, the birthplace of Caninha 51, Brazil’s most famous cachaça.
How to drink cachaça
The main ingredient of the popular drink caipirinha is cachaça ; the cocktail is made of mixed with sugar, lime juice and ice. You can replace the cachaça for vodka, but then you’ll be drinking caipiroska; if you replace white rum, it’s a caipiríssima. Another popular drink is called capeta (“devil”), made with cachaça, condensed milk, cinnamon and guaraná powder, and other ingredients.
Brazil represents an enormous market for beer (cerveja), the tradition of making beer was improved by the German immigrants. Most Brazilian beer brands tend to be less thick and bitter than German, Danish or English ale. More than 90% of all beer consumed in Brazil is Pilsner, and it is usually drunk very cold (at a temperature below 0ºC). In famous TV ads in Brazil you can often hear the word gelada, which means cold in Portuguese. Besides being served at a low temperature, beers are usually served in small copos (glasses);the bottle is placed in a cooler jacket on the table to prevent it warming.
The most popular national brands are Skol, Antarctica, Brahma and Nova Schin. In numbers Brahma is first,followed by Skol and then Antarctica,the three are brewed by the biggest brewer in the country: AmBev.
Other traditional brands include Bohemia, Caracu, Original and Serra Malte. There are also some national premium beers that are found only in some specific bars and supermarkets; if you want to try some delicious Brazilian beer, search for Baden Baden,Colorado, Eisenbahn Petra,Theresopolis and others.
Draft beer in Brazil is called chope (pronounced “shoppy”) and is typically the same as the canned or bottled variety of the same name, but unpasteurised. Most of the leading producers produce choppe, while some smaller brewers only provide this type of beer. It is typically served in curved glasses slightly larger than the standard copos ,which is similar to the half pint glass.
Rio Grande do Sul in the south of Brazil is the Brazilian Napa Valley. There are several wineries that are open to visitors Salton Winery, is one of the options for visiting, located in the city of Bento Gonçalves. The São Francisco Valley, along the border of the states of Pernambuco and Bahia, is the nation’s newest wine-producing region.
Coffee,Tea and Erva-Mate
Café (coffee) is so popular that it can name meals in Brazil-breakfast in Brazil is called café da manhã (morning coffee), while café com pão (coffee with bread) or café da tarde (afternoon coffee) means a light afternoon meal. When visiting a Brazilian family the first thing the’ll offer is a cafezinho (small coffee), which is a small cup of strong, sweetened coffee usually served after meals in restaurants. We usually drink cafezinho after meals.
Chá, means tea in Portuguese, and we drink tea when we’re feeling sick, with feel exceptions like green tea. We don’t drink tea with milk. However, you will find Earl gray and some other type of teas in cafes, bistros and restaurants in the main tourist destinations.
Mate is a caffeinated infusion made from the leaves of the native yerba mate plant. It’s drunk hot on a calabash gourd, which is called chimarrão. Erva-mate is typically associated with the southernmost state, Rio Grande do Sul. Mate is a popular beverage in other South American countries as well, including Argentina, Paraguay, and Uruguay. As in other South American countries, mate is traditionally drunk from a hollow gourd using a silver straw, a tradition that continues from indigenous cultures who introduced mate to colonists, though in other Brazilian regions processed mate is drunk iced, as a non-carbonated soft drink.
Coconut water, Guaraná ,Guaraná- Jesus and Cajuína
Coconut water (água de coco in Portuguese) is the clear liquid inside young green coconuts (stress the first o, otherwise it will come out as “poo”! (cocô) ). It is mostly sold as coco gelado in the coconut itself, drunk with a straw. You can ask the vendors to cut the coconut in half so that you can eat the flesh after drinking the water. You can also buy coconut water available in cartons in the main supermarkets, the main brands are :Kero Côco and Socôco. An international brand that is drinkable is Vita Coco.
It is a carbonated soft drink made from the guaraná berry, native to the Amazon area. It is the second best-selling soft drink brand in Brazil. It’s one of the 15 best-selling soft drink brands worldwide. Guaraná Antarctica is the most popular form of the drink.
Original from Maranhão state. It’s a carbonated soft drink, bright pink, and although the list of ingredients is secret there are hints of clove and cinnamon in its flavor ; It’s very sweet, and contains guaraná berry in its formula. Sadly, the brand Guaraná Jesus now belongs to Coca-Cola , which changed it name for Cola Guaraná Jesus.
That’s by far my favorite drink. Original from Piauí state ( that’s where I come from), it’s lightly-carbonated soft drink made from the juice of the cajú fruit (the fruit that gives us the cashew nut). To make cajuína juice is extracted from cajú fruits and then filtered. Most production of cajuína comes from small artesanal producers and a few larger regional ones. In the year of 2011 Coca-Cola announced the production of the soft drink called Crush Cajuína . Cajuína also has strong anti-oxidant properties, and a large quantity of vitamin C and minerals.
Fruit juices are very popular in Brazil. Most cities have juice bars at nearly every corner. One of my favorite fruits are cupuaçu and mangaba.
Imported alcohol usually is extremely expensive in Brazil, many international brands are produced under license, making them widely available, and relatively cheap.
Brazilians usually don’t drink water from the tap. So don’t expect free water to be served in restaurants. Unless you’re flying with Gol airlines, the only thing that is free is a glass of water.
Confraria da Cachaça (http://www.confrariadacachacadobrasil.com.br)
Brazil Travel Guide (http://wikitravel.org/en/Brazil)
Eat Smart in Brazil : How to Decipher the Menu Know the Market Foods & Embark on a Tasting Adventure (Eat Smart Series, No. 1) By Joan Peterson, David Peterson