The most important thing to know is that the Brazilians love a drink. Read on!
Cachaca is the national drink. Be careful – this stuff is 40% proof and its sobriquet gives some indication to its taste: aguardente (‘fire water’). It’s distilled from sugarcane and features in many famous cocktails, including the caipirinha, and you’ll find it in petty much any bar in Brazil. Aged cachaca is infinitely more palatable and practically a different drink: it’s rich, golden and reminiscent of a fine brandy.
Another common spirit is Brazilian whisky, a welcome alternative if cachaca doesn’t float your boat. It’s an interesting combination of imported scotch and Brazilian grain spirit – well worth a tipple.
There are few different brands of beer in Brazil but Pilsner dominates the scene; it accounts for 90% of beer consumed in the country. Other domestic brands to look out for are Bohemia, Antarctica, Skol, Brahma and Serra Malte. Brazilian beer tends to be much lighter and sweeter than the European counterparts and it is always served ice cold.
Draft beer is typically served with at least one inch of head and large bottled beer (600ml-1ltr) is divvied out into smaller glasses among the group rather than swigged by one person.
The Brazilian wine industry is booming. There are few leading regions, but by far the best is the state of Rio Grande do Sul, which is located in the deep south of the country, on the borders of Uruguay and Argentina. The wine produced here is available throughout all of Brazil and you’ll find it in every bar and shop.
Another top wine region is the San Francisco Valley, which divides the states of Pernambuco and Bahia.
Brazilian wines tend to be quite fruity, fresh and fairly weak in terms of alcohol percentage.
Brazil is world-famous for its coffee, which is both rich and a very high calibre, and it’s an integral staple of the country’s cuisine. In almost every restaurant you’ll be given a small cup of strong, sweet coffee after your meal.
Brazil has a great selection of soft drinks and fruit juices. One of the more popular is fresh coconut water, which is incredibly healthy and a great hangover cure. Another must-try is guarana, a fizzy beverage made from the berry of the same name and which varies from state to state.
You’ll find fruit juice vendors on practically every corner in Brazil, particularly in Rio. Try the mango, cashew fruit and passion fruit juices. Lush.