Hydration is key in a land of sand and sun. In Brazil, however, rest assured: you will not go thirsty.
God’s greatest gifts to liquid lovers can be found in abundance in Brazil. Here strong coffee, succulent fruit juices and refreshing beer flow like water. In the thirst-quenching capital of the Southern Hemisphere, however, the wide variety of beverage options do more than keep your palate moist and your lips puckering for more. Brazil’s liquid offerings just might reveal the very best of the rich and colorful culture of the country.
The Dark Stuff
Brazilians take their coffee seriously. Piping hot, thick as oil and excessively sweet, coffee is enjoyed often and at all times of the day. Morning, noon or night, it’s served strong and sweet out of mini plastic or Styrofoam cups. Despite its sugary taste, most Brazilians find their coffee can never be sweet enough and often add additional sugar packets into the miniature, espresso-size cups.
Coffee is typically consumed at a corner lanchonete, a cafe reminiscent of the American diner scene where curving chrome countertops hover over a row of faux-leather bar stools. Here you’ll find Brazilians bellying up for the hourly fix of hot brew. True to their innate affability, Brazilians drink their coffee standing up while mingling among strangers as if they were old friends.
Fruit Around the Clock
Brazil boasts a different fruit for every hour of the day. Mamao (papaya), abacaxi (pineapple), maracajá (passion fruit), uva (grape), acerola (cherry), laranjá (orange) and moranga (strawberry) don’t begin to put a dent in the list of the pure variety of offerings. In fact, there are so many fruits that many don’t even have an English translation. Only in Brazil do you find the sweet juice of fruits like ingá or abui and rare liquid blends with cashew nuts and avocados.
Fruit juice, known as suco, is undoubtedly a major Brazilian highlight. The tropical delights are sold at juice stands lining nearly every corner of every street of Brazil. At each stand you have your pick from 15-20 different fruits that are blended into a fresh, frothy wonderfulness you won’t find elsewhere. Spend time experimenting, mixing and matching juices to find the perfect combo that best suits your palate. For those looking for a little more filling option, opt for mixing your fruit juice with banana or milk for a creamy fruit shake known as a vitamina.
All Hail the King
If beverages were a Brazilian royal family, beer would certainly be king. It’s consumed all day, every day. Before, during and after every meal, it’s the beverage of choice and is the classic accompaniment to every aspect of Brazilian social life.
When it comes to the kind of beer, however, anything goes. Common brands include Antarctica, Brahma, Skol and Kaiser with the best beers found in the regional offerings, like Bohemia and Petropolis. Though Brazilians are likely to drink whatever is available, they are extremely particular about how their beer is served. It must be ice cold, near frozen, and garnished with a few ice chips. Beer temperature is such a serious matter that all coolers are strategically set to 24-26 degrees Farenheit to ensure the optimum drinking temperature is achieved.
Beer drinking is an unrivaled social activity. It’s typically served tall and proud in a 600 millileter bottle with a couple small cups meant to be shared among everyone at the table and comes clad in its own extra-large, insulated coozie to keep it’s desired temperature. Such an integral part of Brazilian culture has beer drinking become that one of these tall boys can be ordered without uttering a single word. Simply raise three fingers in the air and delivery of a tall, icy brew will arrive in no time.
For those thirsty for an authentic taste of Brazilian life, you can certainly find it by adhering to a strict Brazilian liquid diet. Coffee buzz and sugar high aside, you will never go parched.
Laura Keller is a freelance writer, self-proclaimed foodie and traveler from Chicago, currently embarking on a year-long honeymoon around the world. You can follow her worldwide food adventures and travels at www.RoundWeGo.com or @RoundWeGo.