“It’s a truth universally unacknowledged that one of the best ways to learn about a destination is through its alcohol.” ~ Socrates
And in Rio, drinking is a way of life, so from relaxing on Copacabana beach with a chilled beer in your hand by day to drinking Caipirinhas and hitting the streets at night, you’ll have plenty of opportunities to completely immerse yourself in the Brazilian way of life. So, in the interest of er, learning, we’ve written up this handy guide to help you dive into the quintessential Rio experience – one heady beverage at a time.
Without further ado:
Batidas are mixes of fresh fruit juice and cachaça that is often made creamier with condensed or coconut milk – in order words, they’re basically alcoholic smoothies. You’ll find plenty of batida kiosks on the Copacabana and Ipanema beaches. All you have to do is name the fruit – passion fruit, orange, coconut etc – and the vendor will be happy to blend up your customized batida.
Nothing beats drinking a chilled glass of beer anywhere, anytime. Try Brahma or Antarctica, leading beer brands or try Devassa, a local Rio beer with brews named after named after different women’s hair colours: blonde, brunette, redheads etc. Essential Rio vocab: “mais uma” which means “another beer please.”
3) Brazilian beets
Made of beetroot and zinged up with cachaca, lemon and spices give this cocktail a delicious and sultry twist.
This sugarcane rum is Rio’s most common distilled alcoholic beverage, and arguably the most formidable. Nicknames for this drink include ‘tiger’s breath’, ‘burning water’ and ominously, ‘that which killed the cop’ – but we’d advise against finding out why.
Brazil’s finest export besides Adriana Lima. Caipirinha is Brazil’s national cocktail, a sharp-sour-sweet concoction of cachaça, sugar and lime. It’s easy to make and easier to drink, can be found in almost every bar and restaurant in Brazil, and no night out in Rio is complete without it.
6) Coco Cabana
Nothing says island life like coconut and rum . This essential holiday beverage is, you guessed it, made of rum, cachaça, strawberries and coconut. Paper umbrellas were probably invented for this drink.
A day in Rio just isn’t complete without this drink of tea. It is traditionally sipped out from a gourd through a silver metal straw. Drinking mate is often times a group experience; it’s usually passed around so everyone can have a few sips.
This is cachaça mixed with soda, and is a classic among college-aged students in Brazil . The tradition is to fill half a cup with cachaça and add a small amount of Sprite, Coca-Cola, or other similar soda. Then, cover the cup with your hand, lift it and hit the table, and watch volume of the drink grow quickly as you chug it in one sip and you’ll feel like you’ve just levou uma porrada — “took a punch.”
Now that you know what to drink, here’s other essential information you need:
How to toast in Rio: “Cheers” is “Saude”
Hangover cure: an Acai berry smoothie. It’s incredibly good for you, absolutely delicious and has been curing Brazilian hangovers for years.
There you go. Now, go forth armed with knowledge, drink like a bona fide citizen of this fine nation, and er..learn!