While most visitors to Brazil put ‘sipping a Caipirinha as the sun goes down’ on their ‘to do’ list, there’s a multitude of Brazilian drinks available, most of which are sure to whet your appetite. Here’s a selection of the best Brazilian drinks (both with and without alcohol) for you to add to your list.
Let’s start with the national cocktail – the Caipirinha is made from a mix of cachaça (a sugar cane spirit which is known as the national liquor of Brazil), crushed lime, white sugar and lots of ice, and is probably the most popular and well known Brazilian cocktail. Served in most bars, many Brazilian families make this drink at home using a special wooden mortar. There are several versions of the Caipirinha, such as caipiroska which uses vodka as the base and saquerinha which is based around the Japanese sake.
Batidas is a mix of cachaça, the fruit of your choice, ice and lots and lots of sugar and is a perennial favourite in the kiosks lining the Brazilian coast. You can choose from mouth watering fruits such as morango (strawberry), maracujá (passion fruit) and coco (coconut).
Alua is a popular drink throughout the north eastern states, and has several different versions depending on where it’s made. It can be alcoholic or non-alcoholic, but it always contains pineapple peel, water, brown sugar, cloves and a touch of grated ginger. The pineapple peel is soaked in water with the length of soaking determining the amount of alcohol in the drink.
Meia de seda is a particular favourite with those people who possess a sweet tooth. Made from equal parts of gin, cocao liquer and a mixture of sugar and cinnamon, this is an old fashioned drink which will definitely make you feel like a lady.
Cachaça pura is made from fermented sugarcane juice and is often known as Brazilian Rum. There’s thousands of different brands to choose from, with some being much better than others. Some of the best and most popular brands are Diva, Vale Verde and Pirapora.
Porradinha is a ‘novelty’ drink favoured by the student population and is definitely not a drink to try if you’re trying to keep an air of sophistication. For the classic porradinha fill a metal cup with cachaça and add a small amount of a soft drink such as lemonade or cola. Place your hand over the top of the cup, raise the cup and then bang it onto the table. The movement is described as ‘porradinha’. As you can imagine the drink grows in volume rapidly.
Submarino is another novelty drink which is popular in Brazil’s southern states, comprising a measure of Steinhäger and a glass of draft beer. Its origins come from German immigrants who originally drank each drink separately, but simultaneously. To make a submarino, invert the glass of Steinhäger into a larger glass and then pour the beer on top.
Caju Amigo – or the ‘friendly cashew’ is a tasty combination of two of the country’s most favourite flavours – cachaça and the juice of the cashew nut. Some bars offer a unique way to imbibe this drink by offering you a cashew nut which you chew, whilst swallowing your shot of cachaça.
Leite de Onça or Jaguar Milk is made from cachaça combined with cold milk and is served without any kind of garnish so it’s often mistaken for just milk.
Cerveja If you don’t like cocktails then you might want to try the beer. In Brazil, chopp or tap beer is served with a good head of foam.
Of course, not all Brazilian drinks are alcoholic, so if you’re seeking a non-alcoholic beverage why not try:
Guaraná, a drink made from the Amazonian fruit of the same name. Classed as Brazil’s national soft drink, it’s claimed that it can boost energy as the guaraná fruit contains twice as much caffeine as coffee beans. Why not try Guaraná Antartica which has a distinct apple/berry flavour and is the most popular soft drink in Brazil. Guaraná are also the official sponsor of the Brazilian national football team.
Amazonian fruit juices made from cupuaçu, açai or bacuri are very popular while in the northeast of the country juices made from mango, cajá and cashew are available in all the major cities.
If you have a sweet tooth, try some Garapa, made from sugar cane and available in street markets around the country.
Agua de coco
Agua de coco – as its name suggests, is coconut water which is often served in the shell of an unripe coconut. Usually found on stands on the streets, the coconut milk is sweet and mild.
Of course before you try any of the wonderful and uplifting Brazilian cocktails, always make sure that you’ve had some of the wonderful food available in Brazil. After all you don’t want to drink on an empty stomach!