The World Cup in Brazil is just around the corner, and if you’re traveling to Brazil to see it, you really should know what t0 prepare for upfront. We’ve already written a short description of the cities in which the games will be played, as well as a introduction to the delicious, savory Brazilian foods, but seriously, it wouldn’t be Brazil without the drinks!
Serious disclaimer: Drinking alcoholic drinks during the World Cup is seriously a bad idea. With all the chaos caused by the football fans and the tourists, and with Brazil not being a particularly safe country, it’s a bad idea to have more than 1-2 drinks. This being said…
What? Why doesn’t the list start with Caipirinha? Everyone knows Caipirinha is Brazil’s national drink, right? Well, sort of… Cachaça is Brazil’s national drink, Caipirinha is a cocktail made with it – but more on that in just a minute. Also known as aguardente, pinga, caninha or other names, Cachaça is a distilled spirit made from sugarcane juice. It’s easily the most alcoholic drink in Brazil, and while foreigners use it almost exclusively in cocktails, locals drink it raw as well. It packs quite a punch, but I loved it. I mean seriously, how many cocktails can you drink? If you’re not a fan of sweet, colored drinks, this is the thing for you. Forget everything else (your liver as well).
There you have it, the most popular cocktail of Brazil – the best thing you can make with Limes, sugarcane, cachaça, and crushed ice. Once almost unknown outside Brazil, the drink has become more popular and more widely available in recent years. A small word of attention: real caipirinha is made with Cachaça, not vodka or rum! Many bars will try to trick you and give you some cheap alcohol instead of Cachaça – don’t fall for that! ask for the real thing.
Not as famous as the caipirinha, batidas are just as good (even better if you ask me). Batida literally means “shake”, and it’s made from Cachaça (doh), mashed fruits and/or coconut juice, sugar, and ice. You can also get a non-alcoholic batida, which is just as good. A variation is made adding sweet condensed milk or sour cream. Be sure to check the mango and the passion fruit ones, they’re absolutely delicious!
4. Yerba Mate Tea
It’s not all about Cachaça, ok? Yerba Mate (or just Mate) tea is drank throughout South America, especially in Uruguay, Paraguay and Brazil. It’s a hot caffeine-rich infused drink, healthy and tasty; an interesting, different tea, traditional for Brazil. You can also find many mate-related drinks, including sparkling ones, but they’re really different from the original tea.
5. Meia de seda
Meaning “silk stocking”, Meia de seda is definitely a girly drink. It’s very sweet, and it’s made from gin, cacao liquor (made from the fruit, not cocoa), sugar and cinnamon. It’s kind of old fashioned, and in some places it may be considered very fashionable, in others it may be a “cheap drink”. It was the go-to drink in the 50s, and it’s still fairly popular now.
This is the national soft drink, made from Guaraná – an Amazonian fruit that is an energy booster – it has twice the caffeine of coffee beans. The soft drink though has small quantities of the fruit.
7. Caju Amigo (Friendly Cashew)
Made from (you’ve guessed it) cachaça and cashew juice, this is also a very popular drinks in some areas in Brazil. What you want to do when you drink it is take a slice of cashew in your mouth, chew it without swallowing it, then drink the Caju Amigo. Rinse and repeat to your heart’s delight!
8. Quentão (Hot Stuff)
If you like mulled wine, Quentão is the thing for you. It’s made from the ever present cachaça, lemon fruits and spices, and the end result is delicious. The sugar is first caramelized with the spices, ginger and fruit peels. The mixture is boiled with water for 10 minutes, then the alcohol is added, and then boiled for another 5 minutes. Excellent when it’s cold outside, or when you have a cold.
9. Rabo de Galo (Cock Tail)
The Rabo de Galo (meaning Cock Tail) is an alcoholic drink, and it’s red (usually)… and that’s all I can tell you about it. Why? Because the proportions in rabo-de-galo have never been formally established. Usually, the barman will just eyeball a mixture of cachaça and red vermouth, maybe add something else which he feels is right.
10. Juices… juices everywhere!
The Brazilian fruits, as well as the juices, are amazing! Be sure to enjoy this wonderful mixture of exotic fruits, as Brazil has some of the most spectacular fruits you’ll ever find.