Brazil

alcohol

Brazil's national booze is cachaça cah-shah-sah, also known as aguardente ("burning water" and pinga), a 40% sugar-cane liquor known to knock the unwary out quite quickly. It can be tried in virtually every bar in the country. Famous producing regions include Minas Gerais, where there are tours of distilleries, and the city of Paraty. Pirassununga is home to Caninha 51, Brazil's best-selling brand. Outside Fortaleza there is a cachaça museum Museu da Cachaça where you can learn about the history of the Ypioca brand.

Drinking cachaça straight, or stirring in only a dollop of honey or a bit of lime juice, is a common habit on the Northeast region of the country, but the strength of cachaça can be hidden in cocktails like the famous caipirinha, where it is mixed with sugar, lime juice and ice. Using vodka instead of cachaça is nicknamed caipiroska or caipivodka; with white rum, it's a caipiríssima; and with sake it's a caipisaque not in every region. Another interesting concoction is called capeta "devil", made with cachaça, condensed milk, cinnamon, guarana powder a mild stimulant, and other ingredients, varying by region. If you enjoy fine brandy or grappa, try an aged cachaça. Deep and complex, this golden-coloured spirit is nothing like the ubiquitous clear liquor more commonly seen. A fun trip is to an "alambique" - a local distillery, of which there are thousands throughout the country - not only will you be able to see how the spirit is made from the raw cane sugar, you will probably also get a better price.

Well worth a try is Brazilian whisky! It's actually 50% imported scotch - the malt component -and approximately 50% Brazilian grain spirit. Don't be misled by American sounding names like "Wall Street". It is not bourbon. Good value for money and indistinguishable from common British blends.

While imported alcohol is very expensive, many international brands are produced under license in Brazil, making them widely available, and fairly cheap. You can buy booze in the tax-free after landing at Brazilian airports, but it generally is more expensive than buying it outside the airports.

beer

Beer in Brazil has a respectable history because of the German immigrants. Most Brazilian beer brands tend to be way less thick and bitter than German, Danish or English beer. More than 90% of all beer consumed in Brazil is Light Lager type, like Standard American Lager, here called Pilsner, and it is usually drunk very cold at a temperature below 0ºC. The most popular domestic brands are Brahma, Antarctica, and Skol. Traditional brands include Bohemia, Caracu - a stout -, Original and Serramalte. They are easily found in bars and are worth trying but are usually a little bit more expensive than the popular beers. There are also some national premium and craft beers that are found only in some specific bars and supermarkets; if you want to taste a good Brazilian beer, search for Baden Baden, Colorado, Eisenbahn, Petra, Theresopolis, Coruja and others. There are also some international beers produced by national breweries like Heineken and Stella Artois and have a slightly different taste if compared with the original beers.

There are two ways of drinking beer in bars: draft or bottled beer. Draft lager beer is called chope or chopp 'SHOH-pee', and is commonly served with one inch of foam, but you can make a complaint to the bartender if the foam is consistently thicker than that. In bars, the waiter will usually collect the empty glasses and bottles on a table and replace them with full ones, until you ask him to stop, in a "tap" charging system. In the case of bottled beer, bottles 600ml or 1l are shared among everyone at the table and poured in small glasses, rather than drunk straight from the bottle. Brazilians like their beer nearly ice-cold - hence, to keep the temperature down, bottles of beer are often kept in an insulated polystyrene container on the table.

soft drinks

Nothing beats coconut water água de coco on a hot day.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. Ask the machete-wielding vendors to cut the coconut in half so that you can eat the flesh after drinking the water.

If you want a Coke in Brazil, ask for coca or coca-cola, as "cola" means "glue", in Portuguese.

Guaraná; is a carbonated soft drink made from the guaraná berry, native to the Amazon area. The major brands are Antarctica and Kuat, the latter owned by Coke. Pureza is a lesser known guaraná soft drink specially popular in Santa Catarina. There is also a "Guaraná Jesus" that is popular in Maranhão and a "Guaraná Fruki" that is very popular in Rio Grande do Sul. Almost all regions in Brazil feature their own local variants on guaraná, some which can be quite different from the standard "Antartica" in both good and bad ways. If traveling to Amazonas, be sure to try a cold "Baré," which due to its huge popularity in Manaus was purchased by Antartica and is becoming more available throughout northern Brazil.

Tubaína is a carbonated soft drink once very popular among Brazilians particularly the ones born in the 70s, 80s and early 90s and becoming extremely hard to find. It was once mass produced by "Brahma" before it became focused on beers only. If you happen to find a place that sells it, try it.

Mineirinho is also a popular soft drink made of guaraná and a typical Brazilian leaf called Chapéu de Couro. Although most Brazilians says that it tastes like grass, older people +70 years claim that the drink has medicinal proprieties.

coffee and tea

Brazil is known world-wide for its high-quality strong coffee. Café is so popular that it can name meals just like rice does in China, Japan and Korea: 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. Cafezinho small coffee is a small cup of strong, sweetened coffee usually served after meals in restaurants sometimes for free, just ask politely. Bottled filtered coffee is being replaced by stronger espresso cups in more upscale restaurants.

Chá, or tea in Portuguese, is most commonly found in its Assam version orange, light coloured. Some more specialised tea shops and cafés will have Earl Gray and green tea available as well.

Mate is an infusion similar to tea that is very high in caffeine content. A toasted version, often served chilled, is consumed all around the country, while Chimarrão incidentally called mate in neighbouring Spanish-speaking countries is the hot, bitter equivalent that can be found in the south and is highly appreciated by the gaúchos Rio Grande do Sul dwellers. Tererê is a cold version of Chimarrão, common in Mato Grosso do Sul and Mato Grosso state.

wine

Rio Grande do Sul is the leading wine production region. There are a number of wine-producing farms that are open to visitors and wine tasting, and wine cellars selling wine and fermented grape juice. One of these farms open to visitors is Salton Winery (http://www.salton.com.br), located in the city of Bento Gonçalves. The São Francisco Valley, along the border of the states of Pernambuco and Bahia, is the country's newest wine-producing region. Brazilian wines are usually fresher, fruitier and less alcoholic than, for instance, French wines. Popular brands like Sangue de Boi, Canção and Santa Felicidade and others with prices below R$ 6.00 are usually seen as trash.

In Minas Gerais, look for licor de jabuticaba jabuticaba liquor or vinho de jabuticaba jabuticaba wine, an exquisite purple-black beverage with a sweet taste. Jabuticaba is the name of a small grape-like black fruit native to Brazil.

fruit juices

Fruit juices are very popular in Brazil. Some cities, notably Rio de Janeiro has fruit juice bars at nearly every corner.

Açai a fruit from the Amazon is delicious and nutritious rich in antioxidants and can be found widespread across the nations. In the amazon region it's used as a complement to the everyday diet, often eaten together with rice and fish in the main meal of the day. Curiously outside of the amazon region, it's typically used in blended in combination with guarana a stimulantpowder,and a banana to re-energize from late-night partying It is served cold and has a consistency of soft ice. There is also Açai Ice Creams available.

Maracuja passion fruitcareful during an active day- this has a relaxant effect

Caju cashew fruit and

Manga mango are also great juice experiences.

Brazilians have great taste when it comes to mixing juices.